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 Care of the Racing and Retired Greyhound

Today I want to tell you about an invaluable resource for all Greyhound guardians out there and your veterinarians: Care of the Racing & Retired Greyhound. This book, published by the American Greyhound Council, is an overview of the most common and unique medical problems seen in Greyhounds. If you want to become more active in your Greyhound’s health care, you need this book.

If you have ever had your hound limp back from a walk or from a run in the backyard, you will appreciate the “Three-Minute Examination for Muscle Injury” in Chapter 2.  You can quickly locate the likely problem and find out if you need to go to the vet or not.

There are three major sections of the book:  Anatomy, Function and Dysfunction of the Major Systems in the Greyhound, Age Related Care, and finally Therapeutic Medications.  It is organized to easily look up something of particular concern, without having the read the entire book. The authors are Linda L. Blythe, James R. Gannon, A. Morrie Craig, and Desmond P. Fegan, all veterinarians, if not also veterinary professors.  Yet, the book is very readable and clearly written by people with a love for Greyhounds.  The authors Blythe and Craig are from the US and Gannon and Fegan are from Australia, so space is devoted to each country’s practices.

As adopters of retired racers, we might never need the Breeding, Pediatrics, and Schooling chapters, but when it comes to Stress and Stress-Related Problems, we find helpful general preventive measures such as reduction in the stressful environment, and treating chronic stress.  For veterinarians, there are sample blood test results which differ from other dog breeds. There are tips from bandaging procedures to how to trim nails.

One essential section describes the different causes of seizures and how often seizures are a symptom of something unrelated to epilepsy.  Another deals with tick-borne diseases.

The chapter on Geriatric Greyhounds covers expected age-related changes for Senior hounds (ages 6-9) and Geriatric hounds (10 and up). Conditions discussed range from arthritis, corns, and cancer to kidney disease and eye problems, plus many others. As our hounds live longer, age related cognitive dysfunction becomes a bigger problem.  See our previous blog

Also invaluable is the chapter on Care of Adopted Greyhounds. This chapter deals with situations we often find with retired racers transitioning to pets, with helpful advice on administering medications, behavior problems, diet, modes of travel, and dealing with separation anxiety.

The section on Therapeutic Medications goes in to detail on interactions with Greyhound metabolism and common medications, as well as indications, advantages and disadvantages of each. There is also a table of over the counter (OTC) human medications that can be used for Greyhounds.

The book does not try to cover every medical problem, but does help educate us about our Greyhound’s health so that we can be aware and recognize some signs that we need to seek our veterinarian’s advice.

If your veterinarian is not well versed on Greyhounds, perhaps you might consider giving them this book.  As we know, you cannot always compare normal Greyhound blood values with other dog breeds.  Common areas of misdiagnosis discussed in the book are enlarged heart, heart murmur, abnormal thyroid, creatinine levels in male Greyhounds, blood test results, and anesthesia.  I have a friend who brings this book with her to every vet appointment for her hound.

The information in Care of the Racing & Retired Greyhound creates awareness of problems that Greyhounds may develop, so that together with their veterinarians, trainers and adopters can provide the dogs with the best possible treatment.  At the end of the day, that’s what we all want, right?


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