A VET is urging dog owners to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a life threatening condition after they helped save the lives of 20 dogs in the last year.

Animal Trust Blackburn, wants owners of female dogs to check for signs of pyometra, a uterine condition that is estimated to affect one in four unneutered bitches before the age of 10.

Symptoms include a reduction in appetite, increase in thirst, vomiting or becoming uncharacteristically quiet.

Lead veterinary surgeon at Animal Trust Blackburn Daniel Boni, said: “It’s really important that cases of pyometra are treated promptly to reduce the risk of toxins causing kidney damage, or the dog being so unwell that surgery is high risk.

“With prompt treatment the prognosis is usually good; but this disease can be easily prevented by routine neutering.”

In most pyometra cases, dogs will recover well and quickly from surgery and will be discharged and back home within 48 hours.

The cost of surgical treatment is £475 when paid for at admission, which includes the anaesthetic, blood test, and routine medication to go home with. For further information visit animaltrust.org.uk.