The rising frequency of heatwaves due to climate change is causing anincreased risk of dogs suffering from heat-related illness (HRI).

By analysing VetCompass records of 905,543 dogs at 886 veterinary clinics, aUK study* found a total of 395 events of HRI.

The study reported that the most at risk dogs include purebred dogs,brachycephalic dogs, dogs weighing over 50kg, and dogs over 12 years of age.

It was suggested that veterinary professionals may need to include resistanceto HRI amongst their rationales when advising owners on breed selection.

“Breeding for good respiratory function and maintaining a healthy bodyweightshould be considered key welfare priorities for all dogs to limit the risk ofheat-related illness,” stated the report.

Brachycephalic, or flat-faced, breeds such as pugs, chow chows, Frenchbulldogs, and pugs were identified to have the highest incidence of HRI, whilecompanion greyhounds were found to have 4.26 times the odds of HRI compared toLabradors.

Signs of HRI in dogs include:

  • Panting excessively despite being removed from heat
  • Collapsing
  • Stiffness, lethargy, or an unwillingness to move
  • Hypersalivation, vomiting, or diarrhoea
  • Neurological dysfunction such as ataxia, seizures, coma, or death
  • Haematological disturbances such as petechiae or purpura.

The study suggested that maintaining a dog’s healthy bodyweight to be animportant management tool for limiting HRI risk.

“Routine recording of patient body condition score should be highlighted as akey strategy for enabling the monitoring and subsequent management of canineobesity.”


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