Greyhounds - breed information and advice

Friendly, faithful and fast on its feet, the Greyhound’s instinct to chase is unsurpassed – worth remembering in households with cats or other small animals. In fact, the Greyhound’s speed and manoeuvrability is so impressive that only the cheetah runs faster. At home, though, most Greyhounds will happily snooze for hours.

Breed information

Essentials

Size: Large

Coat: Its short, glossy coat is easy to maintain. It needs grooming once a week and polishing with a hound glove for extra shine.

Exercise: One hour daily for adult dogs. Greyhounds exert their energy in short spurts, so two half-hour walks a day are recommended.

Life span: 8-10+ years

Breed group: Hounds fall into two key categories: those that hunt by scent and those that hunt by sight. The former tend to be more outgoing, while the latter are longer-legged and more agile.

Gum disease

Gum disease occurs when some (or all) of a tooth’s deep supporting structures become inflamed. This begins when food, bacteria and minerals accumulate along the gum line, leading to the build-up of a brown scale known as tartar. When this undermines the gum the condition is called gingivitis. Eventually, small spaces can form between the gums and the teeth creating pockets of space for bacteria to grow, resulting in what is known as periodontal disease. The bacteria from infected gums can spread around the body and damage the liver and kidneys. This condition can be prevented by brushing the teeth and ensuring dental descales, helping the dog to lead a normal, pain-free life.

Fact

Periodontal disease is the most common mouth problem we see in Greyhounds

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Spondylosis

Spondylosis is a condition that is characterised by the presence of bony spurs and bridges on the bones that form the spine of a dog (vertebrae). Sometimes these develop in a single spot or in several areas along the length of the spine. These spurs can sometimes pinch the nerves leaving the spinal cord, causing pain. Treatment varies from pain relief to physical therapy to surgery, ensuring that the dog can maintain a happy life.

Fact

We paid £1,726 to treat Florrie the Greyhound for spondylosis in 2016

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Arthritis

Greyhounds can suffer from arthritis, which means ‘inflammation of the joints’. There are many different types of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis and immunemediated arthritis. The most common form in dogs is osteoarthritis, which is also known as ‘degenerative joint disease’. This type always involves an underlying issue (wear and tear, for example) or a specific condition (such as cruciate rupture or hip dysplasia, which are common in many larger breeds and can occur in young dogs). Arthritis is an irreversible condition but can be successfully managed to help the dog enjoy a good quality of life.

Fact

Arthritis is the fifth most common illness we see in Greyhounds

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Bone cancer

All dogs can suffer from osteosarcoma, a bone tumour. It’s mostly found in middle-aged or elderly dogs, but can affect a dog of any age, with larger breeds like Greyhounds tending to develop tumours when they are younger. While any bone can be affected, most cases occur in the leg bones. Unfortunately, while surgery and chemotherapy may extend the life of a dog with osteosarcoma, they won’t actually cure the condition.

Fact

We paid £2,841 to treat Zeta the Greyhound for osteosarcoma in 2016

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Corns

Corns are hard bumps that form inside the foot pads. In dogs, they almost always occur in the breeds known as the ‘sight hounds’, a group which includes Greyhounds. At first, a tiny dot appears that eventually gets bigger until a corn breaks through the pad. Corns can grow quite large if left unchecked and feel the same as having a pebble in your shoe. Treatment varies depending on the site and painfulness of the corn, but the dog can usually continue to live an active life.

Fact

We paid £1,928 to treat Alfie the Greyhound for corns in 2016

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