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Heat-related illness in working dogs

A number of recent events have elevated the status of working dogs and highlighted the need to keep these dogs healthy.  Although these dogs—such as K-9 officers, military dogs, or rescue dogs—are often exposed to more palpable dangers, heat-related illnesses such as dehydration and heat exhaustion actually tend to be the leading causes of death in these dogs.

Presently, there are no evidence-based guidelines for preventing these illnesses. But thanks to a recent study funded by Morris Animal Foundation at the University of Florida, that’s starting to change. In this research, investigators have conducted preliminary studies that may help guide the prevention of heat-related illness in working dogs.

“These are real concerns, especially in the South in the summer as well as for working dogs deployed to the Middle East,” said lead researcher Sheilah Robertson, PhD., formerly a professor of veterinary anesthesiology at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, now an assistant director of animal welfare at the American Veterinary Medical Association. “We don’t know what a ‘work-rest’ schedule should be under different environmental conditions.”

More details on the study can be read in a full length article on the University of Florida’s website here.


Posted by MAFon April 27, 2012.

Categories: Animal health, Dog health

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