6 Health Concerns of the Greyhound Breed

Greyhounds are some of the most beautiful dogs out there. Their sleek bodies, gentle personalities, and sporting heritage make them one of the most interesting breeds a family can own. Nicknamed the “40-mph couch potato,” greyhounds are one breed whose daily lives don’t match up to their energetic image.

Given the declining popularity of greyhound racing, there are many former racers looking for good homes to join for the remainder of their lives. As such, there are a lot of families adopting greyhounds. These dogs are both gentle and loving, and make great partners for families. However, there is one aspect of greyhound ownership that many people don’t consider. Due to their racing lineage, there are many differences in the normal and abnormal health of a greyhound that you need to know.

Understanding A Healthy Greyhound

The first thing to know about a greyhound’s health is that their baseline vitals don’t look like what you would expect from other breeds. From an elevated red blood cell count to a lowered white blood cell count, as well as a heart murmur from enlarged ventricles, healthy greyhounds don’t look or sound the same to a vet as other dogs. This is one reason it is important to go to a veterinarian that is well versed in greyhounds and their health, such as Dr. Couto, who is a leading expert on greyhound dog health.

As one might expect, if a healthy greyhound seems different—then an unhealthy one is going to be different as well. For example, greyhounds process medicines differently than other dogs due to a lower amount of certain enzymes. This requires that your vet be prepared for these abnormal reactions.

One situation which you and your vet should pay special attention to is if your dog needs anesthesia for any reason. This is one particular medicine their bodies metabolize differently, possibly resulting in complications. At Riverside Drive Animal Care Center, we have the necessary knowledge to help keep your greyhound healthy when anesthesia is necessary.

The Biggest Health Concerns for Greyhounds

Greyhounds are generally very healthy dogs, it’s only because of their different genes and traits that the owner needs to be prepared. Most of the time they will be fine, healthy, and happy. Just to be safe, however, you should be aware of the following concerns as a greyhound owner.

  1. Greyhounds React Differently to Medicine – As stated above, unexpected side effects may occur with greyhounds more than other breeds when taking typical canine medicines.
  2. Larger Hearts Leading to Heart Murmurs (and Extra Love) – Due to their breeding for racing, greyhounds have larger ventricles which pump more blood through their heart. This extra volume can lead to a heart murmur which is expected and normal for these dogs.
  3. High Likelihood for Bone Cancer – Greyhounds are very likely to get bone cancer in one of their legs. While bone cancer is often fatal, amputation of the leg is a difficult, yet suggested, option in order to save the dog. Luckily, the agile greyhound is particularly able to cope with this scenario compared to other dogs.
  4. Dental Issues from a Lack of Care – Depending on where you adopted your greyhound, they may or may not have had proper dental care in the past. Make sure to properly care for their teeth in order to prevent future problems.
  5. Stomach Bloat and Gastric Torsion – This breed is more likely to suffer from bloat, which is when air gets into the stomach. If left unchecked, it can develop into gastric torsion where the stomach twists on itself and cuts off circulation. This condition can be fatal, so please talk to your vet to learn more about how to prevent it in greyhounds.
  6. Their Labs and Thyroid Levels Are Different – Greyhounds can have different levels of certain hormones compared to other dogs. These hormones make any panels or tests run by a vet look incorrect. It is important for you and your vet to understand that these abnormal readings are actually normal for these dogs.

The greyhound is a special breed that can be a great companion for people. Unfortunately, their uniqueness can be a problem as certain owners are not prepared to deal with the intricacies of a greyhound.

To learn the special needs of this breed, contact us at Riverside Animal Center today. Our greyhound experts can help you and your pet live a long, healthy and happy life together.