Heatstroke is a potentially fatal, yet often preventable, condition for dogs that can be caused by confinement in hot conditions (environmental heatstroke) or from exercise (exertional heatstroke). Despite attempts to educate owners about these risks, growing numbers of dogs are believed to be affected each year. However, to date, no studies investigating canine heatstroke cases in the UK have been published, meaning the incidence and risk factors for this high-welfare disorder in UK dogs are currently unknown.
This VetCompass™ project will be led by Dr Dan O’Neill at RVC in collaboration with PhD student Emily Hall at Nottingham Trent University. The study will explore clinical records of over 900,000 dogs under primary veterinary care in the UK for heatstroke events. As well as reporting on the frequency of heatstroke, the study will assess which breeds, ages, sex and bodyweight are at most risk. The study can also assess which part of the UK has the highest risk.
Improved evidence on heatstroke specific to the UK dog population will support better educational campaigns to reduce or prevent this potentially fatal condition. We are grateful to Dogs Trust for funding this vital work.