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Heatstroke in dogs is when your pet becomes too hot and is unable to self regulate their body temperature. It’s a type of nonpyrogenic hyperthermia, which means their temperature rises, caused by external factors (not a fever). Dogs carry a lot of fur, so to them, a walk outside on a hot day is the equivalent to us wearing a fur coat in 26c!

Dog in sunshine
Animal Trust

There are two types of heat stroke, exertional and non-exertional. Exertional occurs when your dog is exercising in hot weather and they haven’t been able to adjust to the increase in temperature (it can take dogs 60 days to acclimatise). Non-exertional is when your dog is in a warmer environment and has no access to air or cool water, such as in a car, an unshaded area or a hot environment.

Unlike humans, dogs don’t have sweat glands on furry areas of their body, so it’s not as easy for them to cool down naturally. However, dogs can sweat via the sweat glands around their nose and on their paws but this is limited in relation to their body mass.

Signs of Heatstroke in Dogs

Beagle Heatstroke

Dog Breeds More Susceptible to Heatstroke

Overweight dogs or flat-faced breeds (brachycephalic pets) such as French Bulldogs and Pugs are more susceptible to heatstroke. 

Overweight dogs have increased body mass and naturally more fur, so their body temperature rises quicker. Brachycephalic dogs can suffer from a narrow upper respiratory tract and narrow nostrils which can obstruct the airway and restrict airflow, which is required as dogs pant to circulate air through their body. 

How to prevent heatstroke in dogs

Treatment for Heatstroke in Dogs

Heatstroke acts quickly and the signs can often be tricky to spot. The most accurate way to treat heatstroke in dogs is to check your dog’s body temperature using a rectal thermometer. Your dog’s temperature should be no higher than 40ºC. 

If you are out walking your dog and you suspect they are suffering from heatstroke, please take them to your nearest vet immediately. Heatstroke can be fatal if left untreated.

Concerned that your dog may be suffering from heatstroke? Visit our emergencies page to find your nearest surgery. If you simply wish to arrange a consultation, book a free appointment using the links below.


What is Pyometra?

Pyometra is an infectious and inflammatory disease which causes a dog’s uterus to fill with pus. The condition is driven by hormonal changes and is estimated to affect one in four un-neutered bitches before they reach the age of 10.

The most common time to see a pyometra is between one to three months after a dog has been in season. The hormonal changes force the glands in the uterus to increase and pockets of bacteria can form and grow into large quantities of pus. Left undetected, a pyometra can become life-threatening; however, the disease can be diagnosed quickly by a vet who will perform an ultrasound scan of the dog’s abdomen. Last year, we performed almost 200 life-saving operations to treat pyometra.

Dog in Grass

What are the signs and symptoms of Pyometra?

There are two types of pyometra; an open form and a closed form. The most obvious sign of an open pyometra is discharge coming from the dog’s vulva. They can also have a distorted abdomen or have excessive bloating.

A closed form is harder to detect as there are often no external signs (such as discharge) as the uterus will fill with pus and becomes enlarged, leaving it at risk of rupturing. Other common signs include a decrease in your dog’s appetite and they may drink less water, causing them to become dehydrated. They may also experience some vomiting.

It’s important for a pyometra to be diagnosed quickly to minimise the chance of toxins affecting a dog’s kidneys, which can cause kidney failure.

How is Pyometra treated?

Upon diagnosis of a pyometra, your vet will first work to stabilise your dog. This is usually done using an intravenous drip, which can help support and reduce any signs of dehydration. From here, surgery is often the most common and recommended form of treatment. This will involve removing the dog’s ovaries and uterus, which takes away the source of pus and eliminates the chances of the condition ever returning.

In most cases, dogs will recover well and quickly from surgery and will be discharged and back home within 48 hours. In some circumstances where surgery is not advisable, a series of injections can be administered. This can help change the dog’s hormones and support the removal of pus from the uterus. At Animal Trust, the cost of surgical treatment for pyometra is £589 when paid for at admission, which includes the anaesthetic, blood test, and routine medication to go home with.

Can Pyometra be prevented?

The only way to guarantee that your dog won’t be affected by pyometra is to have them spayed. By spaying your dog, their reproductive organs (ovaries and uterus) are removed, meaning a pyometra can’t form. You can have your dog spayed from five months old and it holds many health benefits, including helping to prevent urine infections. Animal Trust carries out 1000 spaying operations each year and the procedure will usually see your dog returning home the same day.

If you are concerned about any unusual symptoms your dog may have, you can book a free consultation at your nearest Animal Trust surgery

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Coronavirus Measures in place at Animal Trust

We have put in some new measures for all clients when attending appointments at one of our surgeries. Read more here.

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