A TOP Altrincham vet donned a dog costume and sat inside his car for nearly an hour, to highlight the horrors of heat stroke.

Alan Redpath, a senior vet at Clarendon Veterinary Surgery in Clarendon Avenue, Altrincham, was filming a video warning about the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars.

Mr Redpath decided to become a dog for the day to raise awareness of how easily dogs can overheat in warm weather. A sharp rise in heat stroke cases this summer has already left three dogs dead.

Dressed from head to tail in a dog onesie, Mr Redpath endured temperatures of more than 50 degrees to highlight the trauma that dogs suffer when they overheat.

He filmed the video after colleagues at small animal surgeries across the North West dealt with a rise in heat stroke cases. In just one week last month, vets across the Willows Veterinary Group (which runs the Altrincham surgery) attended to eight cases of heat stroke. Three of the dogs could not be saved.

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In the two and a half minute video, Mr Redpath tells viewers that his dog onesie was ‘not a joke’ but a way of simulating the extra fur layer which dogs have to cope with.

As Mr Redpath quickly begins to suffer from the overbearing heat, you can clearly see how distressing it is for a canine companion to be left in a car in warm weather.

During the experiment he also left the windows slightly open to simulate what many owners may feel is sufficient to keep their dogs cool. But a wilting Mr Redpath proved that this makes virtually no difference at all.

Parking up on a sunny day outside the veterinary surgery in Altrincham, the temperature probe for outside showed 27C.

But within 45 minutes, the temperature inside the vet's car quickly climbs to 50C. At this point, Mr Redpath finds it unbearable to remain in the car and has to escape into the fresh air.

A vet for almost 20 years, Mr Redpath explained in the video what it is like to see a dog suffer from heat stroke.

He said: “A dog classically presenting with heat stroke would be collapsed, unable to move, lethargic, possibly unresponsive with a racing pulse - in a state of shock.

"The most important thing you can do is get them straight to the vets where they will probably need to be put on life saving, intravenous fluid therapy and intensive nursing, monitoring and care.

“When we see heat stroke, it’s a horrendously upsetting and distressing situation for everyone involved including the vet and nursing team and the owner of the animal.

"It’s a horrible, horrible situation for an animal to be involved in.

“So hopefully me having done something so stupid, if it helps one person, it helps one owner and it helps one dog, it’s been absolutely worth it.”

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Alan is a vet for Willows Veterinary Group which has a network of 25 small animal practices, a referral veterinary hospital, two equine centres and a seven-office farm practice, located across Cheshire and into Greater Manchester, North Wales, the Wirral and Staffordshire. Willows is accredited by The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

June and July’s high temperatures mean the group’s veterinary teams have been dealing with higher numbers of heat stroke cases.

Mr Redpath added: “The weather may have started to cool a little bit but we really are urging owners not to leave their dogs in the car, even for short periods of time while we continue to have this hot summer weather.

“Also to remain vigilant for any sign of heat stroke and get your pet to the vets as soon as possible if you suspect they have overheated and become unwell. Heat stroke can become extremely serious, extremely quickly.”