Increased survival in experimental dog heatstroke after reduction of gut flora

Aviat Space Environ Med. 1979 Aug;50(8):816-9.


A study was undertaken to determine if gut flora contribute to the pathophysiology of experimental canine heatstroke. Fifty animals in four groups were anesthetized with sodium pentobarbital (25 mg/kg) intravenously. An air temperature of 42-46 degrees C was maintained adjacent to the dog with a water-heated blanket for approximately 2 h until rectal temperatures rose to 43.5 +/- 0.4 degrees C. Animals were then cooled passively in room air (28 degrees C, 20% RH) until death or until 18 h elapsed, and were euthanized. Reduction of intestine stool and bacterial contents with antibiotics, cathartics, and enemas prior to heatstroke increased the incidence of 18-h survival from 20.0% to 70.6%; antibiotics administered after heatstroke did not alter the incidence of survival over control values. These data suggest that gut flora, presumably through endotoxemia, contribute to the evolution of heatstroke pathophysiology.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Body Temperature
  • Cathartics / therapeutic use
  • Dogs
  • Enema
  • Female
  • Heat Exhaustion / mortality*
  • Heat Exhaustion / physiopathology
  • Heat Exhaustion / prevention & control
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Magnesium Sulfate / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Neomycin / therapeutic use
  • Penicillin G / therapeutic use
  • Premedication
  • Tetracycline / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Cathartics
  • Magnesium Sulfate
  • Tetracycline
  • Neomycin
  • Penicillin G