Proposing the VetCompass clinical grading tool for heat-related illness in dogs

Hall, E.J. ORCID: 0000-0002-9978-8736, Carter, A.J. ORCID: 0000-0002-6216-2377, Bradbury, J., Barfield, D. and O’Neill, D.G., 2021. Proposing the VetCompass clinical grading tool for heat-related illness in dogs. Scientific Reports, 11: 6828. ISSN 2045-2322

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Heat-related illness is a potentially fatal condition in dogs. Rapid and accurate recognition of the severity can improve clinical management in affected dogs and lead to better outcomes. This study explored retrospective VetCompass veterinary clinical records to investigate the clinical signs recorded for dogs presenting with heat-related illness to primary-care veterinary practice from 2016 to 2018. The relative risk of death associated with these clinical signs was reported and used to develop a novel clinical grading tool. From the clinical records of 856 heat-related illness events, the most frequently recorded clinical signs were respiratory changes (68.73%) and lethargy (47.79%). The clinical signs with the highest relative risk of death were neurological dysfunction, gastrointestinal haemorrhage and bleeding disorders. The novel VetCompass Clinical Grading Tool for Heat-Related Illness in dogs defines three grades: mild (altered respiration, lethargy), moderate (gastrointestinal signs, a single seizure, episodic collapse) and severe (neurological dysfunction, gastrointestinal haemorrhage, bleeding disorders). This novel grading tool offers a simple, evidence-based device to improve recognition of heat-related illness in dogs and promote improved decision-making for earlier interventions such as cooling and hospitalisation. This could improve outcomes and protect the welfare of dogs in the face of rising global temperatures.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Scientific Reports
Creators: Hall, E.J., Carter, A.J., Bradbury, J., Barfield, D. and O’Neill, D.G.
Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Date: 25 March 2021
Volume: 11
ISSN: 2045-2322
Rights: © The Author(s) 2021 This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Jeremy Silvester
Date Added: 26 Mar 2021 14:56
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 15:05
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