Could you spot the signs of heat-related illness (heatstroke) in your dog?

We tend to go a little quiet over the winter, but we’re back with our latest research sharing the signs of heat-related illness in dogs presenting to UK vets. This is our third project working with the VetCompass team, and follows on from our research showing which UK dog breeds are at greatest risk of heatstroke and that exercise is the leading trigger of heatstroke in UK dogs.

Read the full study here (open access).

Our latest paper reports the most common signs of heat-related illness in dogs, abnormal breathing (excessive panting, and/or difficulty breathing) and lethargy (unwillingness to exercise, play or interact, changes in behaviour and tiredness). Crucially, dogs that are presented to vets showing just these early signs, were far more likely to survive.

When dogs presented to their vet with signs of severe heatstroke (neurological changes including multiple seizures, loss of consciousness or being comatose, bleeding disorders including passing vomit or diarrhea with blood, and organ damage), less than half survived (just 43.2%).

We are urging ALL dog owners to familiarise themselves with the EARLY signs of heat-related illness, as spotting these and taking appropriate action – cool your dog and seek veterinary advice – could save your dog’s life!

The AMAZING Camilla from the VetCompass team has turned our findings into this brilliant info-graphic, which we encourage you to download in full and share with as many dog owners as possible, as the UK weather starts to turn warmer!

Proposing the VC Clinical Grading Tool for Heat-Related Illness in Dogs

We will be presenting this tool in the BSAVA 2021 Clinical Abstracts in May, and will be sharing our findings on cooling methods used by UK vets, so watch this space for more updates over the coming months!

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