It was a “greyt” time today at Pet Fest sponsored by Busch Pet Products in Cape Girardeau, Mo. There were lots of exhibits, pet related services and adoptable dogs of (all breeds).
The greyhounds made a good showing today as there were probably 9 or 10 there soaking up hugs.
To see photos of some “happening hounds” click on this link… Busch Pet Products – Pet Fest 2013
Click on any of the photos to enlarge them.
With the increasing number of Retired Greyhounds being placed in
homes, it is important to be knowledgeable in the unique medical
conditions that can and do occur in this breed.
Some of these conditions are unique to the racing Greyhound, but
most are diseases present due to poor management and lack of general
The “Bald Butt” syndrome seen in many Retired Greyhounds, is in
most cases due to “cage rub.” Hypothyroidism is often blamed as the cause,
however, this is seldom true. Many dogs regain their haircoat with time, others
The normal hematocrit of a healthy Greyhound is significantly higher
than other canines. A PCV of 55-60% is considered normal; a PCV of 45% may
indicate anemia. Greyhounds often normally have a moderately low WBC. A
WBC of 5,000 – 6,000 may be a consistent finding, sometimes even lower levels
are found in dogs with Babesia or Ehrlichia.
This is a relatively common disease found in Retired Greyhounds.
A blood parasite, transmitted by the bite of a tick, a positive titer is found in
approximately 75-80% of retired racers. Even dogs brought in from more
Northern states are at risk due to the constant travel and shipping from track to
track, with most tracks located in Southern states. A low titer, indicates exposure
to the disease, whereas a high to moderately high titer may indicate active
disease (even without clinical signs). Treatment consists of one or two
treatments with Imizol (Imidocarb), based on the recheck titer. Failure to treat,
even while asymptomatic, may result in a hemolytic crisis.
Amazingly enough, bloat is not that common in the Greyhound.
However, due to their deep-chested conformation, bloat and Gastric Dilitation -
Volvulus can occur.
Many Greyhounds come off the track with broken toes or
amputated toes. These are often old injuries that are beyond repair.
Due to the poor diet fed these dogs at the track,
Campylobacter jejuni is an extremely common parasite found in the stool. They
are often fed raw, diseased meat, which may be the origin of this parasite.
Certain antibiotics are more effective at eliminating this parasite; constant
sanitization is essential to prevent spread.
Due to the lack of adequate medical care in many
instances, dogs may suffer from chronic untreated infections. Otitis, Cystitis,
Prostatitis, and Conjunctivitis are examples of common infections.
Many female dogs suffer from clitoral hypertrophy
due to the steroid injections received on the track. This may become less
prominent over time. This may lead to vaginal infections, or show no obvious
signs of problems. Surgical resection is not usually recommended.
A relatively uncommon immune-mediated corneal disease
is found in some Greyhounds. This condition can result in total corneal opacity and blindness without proper, aggressive treatment.
Dogs with thin or patchy hair may develop small bloodblister like lesions on various areas of the body. Most often appearing on the
belly and thighs, these small raised lesions are exacerbated or even due to
sunlight. This is the benign precursor to a cancerous condition, so it is
recommended that dogs that develop this condition be protected from sunlight
with skin block and protective clothing.
Due to the poor sanitary conditions they are kept
in, many Retired Racers suffer from Pyoderma or Allergic Skin Diseases.
Comedones are common on the ventrum (Biore’ patches may be helpful).
Seborrhea is also common, and is often responsive to diet alone. Other products
may be helpful for topical (Resisoothe, EFA Bath Oil) or parenteral (DermCaps,
EFA Caps, 3V Caps) assistance.
Many Greyhounds show extreme sensitivity to dietary
changes, and many suffer from constant diarrhea if not fed the appropriate food.
Most thrive on premium lamb and rice diets. If chronic diarrhea in the absence of
parasites persists, a change in diet may be warranted.
A blood parasite transmitted by the bite of a tick, Ehrlichia canis
is the most common form to infect dogs. This disease tends to have a chronic
relapsing nature. Many dogs have an elevated titer without showing symptoms;
others may have multiple symptoms. Low titers indicate exposure, however, any
elevation should be treated. Imizol is often very helpful in treatment, antibiotics
don’t often control the disease or the symptoms. A hemolytic crisis is a real
possibility with this disease.
Fractures may occur on the track, which often result in the
euthanasia or retirement of the racing dog. However, fractures can occur in the
retired racer. The Greyhounds bones are slim, and hence are more susceptible
to fractures, even when they’re only racing around their back yard. Some of the
more common racing fractures are those of the calcaneous/talus and tarsal
bones. Fractures of the metatarsals and metacarpals are common in the pet
Another extremely common parasite in Retired Greyhounds.
Approximately 75% may carry Giardia upon adoption. Giardia often causes
diarrhea in people too.
Due to their often lack of preventive medication,
Greyhounds are often exposed to heartworm disease.
IDIOPATHIC CUTANEOUS AND RENAL GLOMERULAR VASCULOPATHY
This is a disease unique to the Greyhound breed, which may manifest itself as an
ulcerative dermatosis, which can also progress to a serious renal disease leading
to severe renal compromise and often death. Treatment can be successful,
however the disease can be rapidly fatal.
A somewhat conspicuous increased frequency
of immune-mediated diseases has been seen in these dogs.
Greyhounds have very thin skin and are extremely susceptible
to lacerations. Many simple lacerations result in degloving due to the thin skin
and virtually non-existent subcutaneous layer.
Another tick-borne parasite, Lymes is more likely found in
Retired Racers from the Eastern states. Chronic arthritis and renal disease may
be sequelae of this disease.
Probably the most common problems seen
in racing dogs and often even in backyard racers, are musculoskeletal injuries.
Strains, sprains, ruptured muscles, and avulsions and tears of tendons and
ligaments are frequently found. Some of the more common injuries are those of
the superficial and deep digital flexor tendons leading to a “dropped toe” or the
gracilis muscle, known as a “dropped back muscle.”
Most Greyhounds on the track suffer from chronic parasitism.
Fleas, ticks and every possible intestinal parasite are common occurrences.
Giardia and Campylobacter are frequently seen.
Due to the poor diet and the constant muzzling, many
Greyhounds suffer from dental decay, worn and broken teeth, abscesses and
gingival recession. Owners should be instructed that constant dental care may
be necessary. Multiple antibiotics, metronidazole, and Stomadex patches are
often of assistance in controlling the disease.
Usually not a pathologic condition, many dogs eat their food
so fast that they regurgitate it immediately. This problem can often be alleviated
by elevating their food or using a larger bowl with a thin layer of kibble, so that
they do not gobble their food.
Often due to eating too fast or minor throat irritation, reverse sneezing often sounds like gasping for breath.
Occasionally a parasite called Paragonimus can be the cause of chronic, frequent reverse sneezing.
This parasite is also known as a lungworm, and lives in the air passages leading
to the lungs, thus causing irritation and coughing or reverse sneezing. This
parasite rarely shows up on routine stool exams, so treatment is often
recommended if any symptoms are present.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER
A tick-borne parasite, Rickettsia
rickettsii, that can produce serious disease in humans and animals, this disease
is more commonly found in dogs from the Western states and also near the
This is a condition seen quite frequently in the Retired
Greyhound. Excessive vocalization, destructive behavior, and inappropriate
elimination are the classic signs often seen. Retired Greyhounds often become
extremely attached to their new owners, frequently following them around the
house constantly. Clomicalm (Clomipramine) is often very useful, along with
behavioral conditioning, in the elimination of these frustrating destructive
behaviors. Some of these or similar type issues may be seen in doga suffering from storm phobias
Many Retired Racers suffer from chronic or recurrent
sesamoiditis. Some show periodic lameness, possibly requiring non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory medications and rest.
This is a term used to describe torn interdigital tissue. This
condition can occur on the track and in the backyard. This injury is best treated
by debriding and suturing together the two portions. Bandages must be kept on
for at least two weeks. If this is not successful, the dog can manage with the tear
as long as it heals properly.
Like other large-breed, long-tailed dogs, Greyhounds often
sustain injuries to the ends of their tails. Proper bandaging, (syringe cases work
great) is usually sufficient to allow healing. Amputation is rarely necessary
except in long-standing injuries.
Besides Babesia, Ehrlichia, Lymes and Rocky Mountain
Spotted Fever, there are other more recently discovered diseases transmitted by
ticks, which can affect many dogs. Bartonellosis and Hepatazoonosis are two
tick-transmitted diseases which can elude the most extensive diagnostician.
These diseases require specialized diagnostic tests only performed in limited
facilities. Chronic, persistent disease despite treatment of other tick diseases,
and chronic mucoid ocular discharge are two prominent features of these
recently discovered conditions.
Hyperthermia and Hypothermia are both very
common diseases in the Greyhound due to their minimal level of insulation.
Owners should be cautioned that this breed is more susceptible than most others to hot/cold extremes.
Other Important Information
Greyhounds, being sighthounds, are susceptible to severe side
effects from certain anesthetics. It is not recommended that barbiturate
anesthetics be used, due to the Greyhound’s commonly idiosyncratic reaction.
Tranquilizers may be used, but the dose should be decreased by about half
when used as a pre-anesthetic. Ketamine/Valium, as well as Propofol as
induction agents are recommended, as is Isoflurane or Propofol for maintenance.
Malignant Hyperthermia has been seen in Greyhounds, thus dogs should be
carefully monitored during any anesthetic procedures. Local anesthetics are
often helpful in the repair of minor lacerations, as most Greyhounds will
FLEA PREVENTIVES AND INSECTICIDES
Be aware that Greyhounds are very
susceptible to toxicities due to insecticides. Organophosphates are often lethal
to the Greyhound. Compounds with pyrethrins or flea pheromones are preferred.
Examples of safe products are: Adams products, VetKem products, Mycodex
products, Frontline, Program, Sentinel, and Advantage. Examples of unsafe
products are: Zodiac products, Blockade, Raid, Flea collars, Proban, Breakthru
and Biospot (the latter two have too high a level of pyrethrin).
Those races are Greyhound Races!
At its very core, greyhound racing is controlled by gambling. It is big business, with total disregard for the dogs. However, the cruelty of this industry is being exposed more and more with each passing day. The majority of people attending these races are blind to what actually happens to these animals in their day to day life. Little do they know, or care, what kind of life these dogs lead. It is our job to inform them that the life of the racing Greyhound is one of misery, fear, mistreatment, and all too often, death at a young age. A few years back, the remains of approximately 3,000 Greyhounds from Florida tracks were discovered on the Alabama property of a track security guard who “took care” of unwanted dogs with a .22 rifle. Their horrible life began the day they were born, and ended the day they died. Some may say, you’re hashing up stuff from years ago…well, that may be true, but it still happened and it continues to happen, it is just that the people involved are being more careful about covering their tracks. It is believed that there are still, despite rescue groups best efforts, approximately 20,000 to 25,000 greyhounds destroyed each year.
The life of a racing greyhound is harsh as they are not considered as a living animal, but rather a commodity, a running machine. The truth about greyhound racing is that thousands of Greyhounds are produced each year, many more than are needed. Dogs that are considered as too slow to make it are killed. If they win they live to race another day. If they lose they stand a good chance to die. Very few dogs make it to 4 or 5 years old. Many suffer from heatstroke, heart attack, injuries, sickness, broken legs, parasitic infections, etc. At all too many tracks dogs suffer from constant neglect and isolation. Cramming them in crates for transport to the track, sometimes a hundred miles or more, many will die on the trip, suffering from
malnutrition, and dehydration. Any dog that slows down or becomes unprofitable stands a good chance of being killed. One kennel owner faced felony charges for selling over 1,000 such Greyhounds for “medical experimentation”.
Greyhound breeders produce hundreds more animals than are needed. Any one of them that is lacking outstanding running ability stands a better than average chance of being killed. Remember, this is about money and gambling and a “non income producing” greyhound will not be tolerated. Few make it very far as racers, most ending up in a quick grave. The tracks in an effort to make more money have paid lobbyists to get legislatures to pass laws favoring gambling. Even if your state has banned Greyhound racing, it is likely that it has breeding kennels for supplying dogs to other states.
Each year thousands of young Greyhounds who do not display potential to make money are “disposed of.” Some are sent to be killed at Veterinary offices, animal shelters, research labs, or any place that will finish them off quickly. Every year thousands of Greyhound puppies meet death allegedly from “natural causes” when in reality they are destroyed on the puppy farms. Very few of these pups are ever delivered to rescue groups. Many end up in a dumpster.
Documented “disposal” methods include: euthanasia, mass euthanasia, gunshot, starvation, bludgeoning, donated for medical research, abandonment, sale to racing interest in third world countries, electrocution, hanging, and strangulation. In earlier years an ice pick shoved in the heart was a favorite method of disposal. Miami, at one time, used a decompression chamber to kill thousands.
Greyhound pups are bred by operators holding 500 or more dogs. The litter can be
1-13, with 7 being average. After being sent to training farms, traveling in cramped quarters, many dogs arrive at their final destination dead. Most are discarded after racing only a short time. Many Greyhounds that did not show potential for profit during training are killed before even having a chance to race at a track.
The average greyhound racing kennel maintains around 60 to 80 dogs. Some “cheap” tracks often hold 200. An average track known as a “compound” with 15 kennels may house 1000 dogs. Living conditions at some tracks are disgustingly brutal, and an injury deemed to costly to treat can mean instant death.
Why doesn’t the Government do something about the situation? Because Greyhound racing is a State mandated business. The Federal Government has no control over it. State regulations many times prove to be a conspiracy of silence…the old, hear no evil speak no evil. Everyone knows what is going on but few are willing to do anything about it. Even though some of the above mentioned is starting to recede because of more people getting involved in rescue groups and finding homes for more dogs, unfortunately either knowingly or unknowingly, many rescue groups themselves perpetuate this cycle of abuse because their parent organizations are in part funded by the racing industry and therefore they (members) are given strict orders to not say anything negative about the industry. The industry uses the threat of not turning any dogs over to that group if they do.
I Stood By Your Bed Last Night
I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep. I could see that you were crying, You found it hard to sleep.
I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear, “It’s me, I haven’t left you, I’m well, I’m fine, I’m here.”
I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour your coffee, You were thinking of the many times, your hands reached down to me.
I was with you at the shops today, Your arms were getting sore. I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more.
I was with you at my grave today, You tend it with such care. I want to reassure you, that I’m not lying there.
I walked with you towards the house, as you fumbled for your key. I gently put my paw on you, I smiled and said “it’s me.”
You looked so very tired as you sank into a chair. I tried so hard to let you know, that I was standing there.
It’s possible for me to be so near you everyday. To say to you with certainty, “I never went away.”
You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew, in the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.
The day is over… I smile and watch you yawning and say “good-night, God bless, I’ll see you in the morning.”
And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide, I’ll rush across to greet you and we’ll stand, side by side.
I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see. Be patient though and live your journey out … then come home to be with me.
A favorite line among the pro race greyhound people trying to justify their stand is that greyhounds love to race.
First off, that is a very generalized statement and secondly, it is just not true. Let me ask you something, if those statements were true would we see so many greyhounds given up at less than 2 years of age because they were “too slow” or “indifferent” (just had no interest in the chase)?
I love it when I hear the old line, “but you can tell they love to race, they are so excited and ready to run when we let them out of their cages”. I know I’ve repeated this a few times, but things like this bear repeating because that line is so incredibly lame. Just think about it, no matter what they were letting them out for, they would be excited, they’re finally getting out and able to stretch and move around and hopefully get a little attention.
At its core, greyhound racing is inherently cruel. From the hours upon hours of confinement and neglect, to the extreme boredom that confinement brings, it results in a horrendous living situation for the dogs. Then there is the always present threat of death or injury while actually racing. A racing greyhound has only one choice to stay in good graces with his owners and that is to win. When the winning stops, or injuries cause the dog to no longer be able to perform, he is expendable. At that point a few different things can happen, he can disappear, he can (be killed), he can be given to a rescue group or he may be sent to a lab to be experimented on. There are a few other ways they deal with this “excess baggage”, but I won’t go into them in this discussion. Suffice it to say, the only positive outcome is the rescue group option.
Any support at all of the the incredibly lame game of greyhound racing only perpetuates the continued suffering of these gentle creatures. I hear people say, “we need to work with the racing industry to make sure they keep giving us their dogs”….but that is a slippery slope, as what it really accomplishes is to continue the overbreeding of racing greyhounds which results in more dogs that will not make the “cut” and will wind up in the situation as described above and it beomes a never ending loop.
As anyone with a dog knows, their nails need to be trimmed regularly, just as ours do. Some groomers and veterinarians recommend trimming at least once a month to avoid getting long nails that can cause your dog to have problems walking or lead to toe injuries during play in the yard. Long nails can get caught in carpet and injure a dog when he pulls to free himself. The dog’s nails should just clear the floor when standing on a solid surface floor such as tile or linoleum. A good test is that you can slide a piece of paper under the nails when the dog is standing on a hard floor. If the nails block the paper slipping under them, they should probably be shortened.
There are special clippers designed to cut our dog’s nails. Please do not try to do this with human clippers. Many stores carry guillotine clippers, claw or scissor action clippers, and Dremel style rotating nail files (sanders or grinders). Which you choose depends on personal preference. I like the Dremel because I can work down slowly, and it is much harder to trim too short, as can easily be done with cutting type appliances…but the sound can be disturbing to some dogs, so it may be best to just let it run so the dog can hear it and get adjusted to the sound before actually trying to do any trimming with it.
Hopefully you have been handling your dogs feet from the “get go”. This will help remove concern about you holding her paws. Stoke the toes and feel between the pads gently. Clean between the pads to remove mud or other debris that may have accumulated; this makes the foot more comfortable. As you and your dog become more comfortable with you handling his feet, and as I said above, try “pretend clipping” the nails so that the dog becomes accustomed to the clippers or dremel and to the sound made.
Have someone instruct you in the process if you have not done nails before. Your veterinarian, a groomer, another dog owner who cares for her own dogs’ nails are all good resources for help in learning the procedure. Once you are comfortable with the process, you are ready to try it on your dog. Stay calm. Your dog will pick up on your anxieties if you do not remain tranquil.
Like our nails, dog nails will soften with soaking. Some groomers recommend that dogs have a bath first so nails are soaked and softened before trimming. This may also cause the clippers to snip more quietly.
Start by removing excess hair from the toe and pad areas of the foot so that the hair does not become entangled in the dremel or clippers. Trim the hair from between the pads on the bottoms of the feet. Besides making nail trimming easier, this will help keep the dogs feet clean and more healthy. In the winter, trimming this hair out will also help prevent ice balls from building up in your dogs’ feet. In the rainy spring or fall, trimming this assists in mud control besides comfort for the dog.
If you have someone who can help you by talking quietly to the dog and rubbing his ears while you work, it is an excellent distraction that keeps you and the dog calm. Rubbing the ears gently seems to sooth dogs and distract them from their feet. Feeding small bits of treats also helps make this a positive event for the dog.
Work from the underside of the nail. Work slowly and do not jerk. Sand or clip the nail down until you see a slight color change or small circle on dark nails. You should stop now. On white or light nails, you should be able to see where the pink area starts; stop before you get there. This is the quick or live section of the nail which contains blood vessels. If you should accidentally go too far and the nail bleeds, apply a styptic pencil or a bit of flour or baking soda to the wound. Hold it firmly in place for a minute or two. The bleeding should stop. If the bleeding continues for more than three or four minutes, we suggest you call your veterinarian.
You may follow up with a nice paw rub much like we use lotion on our hands. It helps moisturize the pads and keep them from cracking. Many different types of paw conditioner rubs are available, but be sure to remember dogs lick their paws so it must be safe if “consumed” by your friend.
Just as a side note, some dogs wear their nails down naturally and do not require much trimming, if any. Dogs who walk on concrete or gravel may not need nails trimmed as often as dogs that are kept mostly in the house on carpeted floors.
Does your dog scratch at the door to get in? Consider putting up small strips of light sand paper in the areas where the dog scratches. The dog’s front nails then become self filed and remain short.
Nail trimming is very important in greyhounds as with their sudden bursts of extreme acceleration and lightning changes in direction, having nails too long can present serious issues if they are caught in something.
It’s easy…just do it!