Please send your heart testing results to our Breed Health Co-ordinator in confidentuality.
Greyhound Club Health Coordinator
Clare Boggia - firstname.lastname@example.org
In accordance with Kennel Club guidelines set up a sub committee to help Clare monitor and aid in any issues involving the health and well being of our wonderful breed.
The health sub committee is Clare Boggia and Julie Mackenzie.
Please send your heart testing results to our Breed Health Co-ordinator in confidentuality.
Please register your Greyhound Neuropathy results with the Kennel Club.
If you need any assistance reporting any testing results please contact Greyhound Club Health Coordinator who will be happy to help. This will be in confidence.
Since the last handbook the Kennel Club launched a new resource for breed clubs and individual breeders – the Breed Health and Conservation Plans (BHCP) project. This commenced in September 2016. The purpose of the project is to ensure that all health concerns for a breed are identified through evidence-based criteria, and that breeders are provided with useful information and resources to raise awareness of current health and welfare concerns in their breed and support them in making balanced breeding decisions.
The Breed Health and Conservation Plans take a complete view of breed health with consideration to the following issues:- known inherited conditions, complex conditions (i.e. those involving many genes and environmental effects such as nutrition or exercise levels, for example hip dysplasia), conformational concerns and population genetics.
The Kennel Club health team put together sources of evidence and data which gives clear indications of the most significant health conditions in each breed, in terms of prevalence and impact. Once the evidence base document has been produced it is discussed with the breed club via the Breed Health Co-ordinator and priorities are agreed and incorporated into a list of actions between the Kennel Club and the breed club to tackle these health concerns.
It is worth considering when reading the research that the Greyhound is split into three subtypes of the breed, one being the show population, and the others racing and coursing populations. There has been very little, if any, crossing between the show population and racing/coursing subpopulations since the 1930s and so there will be nuances between the populations. Where data have specified the type of Greyhound this is included this for the reader’s reference.
The number of Greyhounds registered by year of birth between 1990 and 2020 are shown in Figure 1 (pictured left). The trend of registrations over year of birth (1990-2020) was -1.96 per year (with a 95% confidence interval of -1.35 to -2.57), reflecting the decrease in the breed’s numbers over this time. The registration numbers appear to have peaked in 1993, however the number of Greyhounds registered per year has never exceeded 110 during this period. Ex-racing/ rescue Greyhounds feature much more highly in the UK but are mostly not registered by the Kennel Club (instead these are often registered with the Greyhound Board of Great Britain), however there is possibility that the numbers below may be artificially increased by racing dogs being registered.
[Put simply, 95% confidence intervals (C.I.s) indicate that we are 95% confident that the true estimate of a parameter lies between the lower and upper number stated.]
BREED HEALTH CO-ORDINATOR
My role as Breed Health Co-ordinators (BHCs) is purely voluntary and as all BHCs, I am nominated by the breed club (The Greyhound Club) and my role is to act as a vital conduit between the Kennel Club and Greyhound Club with all matters relating to health.
The Greyhound Club, via the BHC have to submit an Annual Health Report (AHR) to the Kennel Club. The last one in 2021, considered these three conditions listed below to be currently the most important conditions to deal with in our breed based on evidence available to us :
3. Cardiac diseases
As a club over the past few years, we have:
Continued to monitor cases of neuropathy (sadly very few puppies born in the UK during the past three years but as a club we have also encouraged those who have imported dogs to ensure they register the GN test or if not already done, to undertake this simple test),
Developed the health survey to monitor the breed’s overall health (results later in this article).
Raised awareness of autoimmune conditions and cancers within breeding lines.
Participated in osteosarcoma, dental care and bloat/ GDV research at Nottingham University.
Organised a cardiac survey in 2018/19 to help establish any evidence of heart disease. We held one cardiac testing day (12 dogs attended, all clear), but sadly the pandemic put paid to further events which we hope to restart soon.
BREED SPECIFIC HEALTH SURVEYS
Kennel Club Purebred and Pedigree Dog Health Surveys Results
The Kennel Club Purebred and Pedigree Dog Health Surveys were launched in 2004 and 2014 respectively for all of the recognised breeds at the time, to establish common breed-specific and breed-wide conditions.
2004 Morbidity results: Health information was collected for 113 live Greyhounds of which 88 (78%) were healthy and 25 (22%) had at least one reported health condition. The top categories of diagnosis were gastrointestinal (13.5%, 5 of 37 reported conditions), musculoskeletal (10.8%, 4 of 37 reported conditions), reproductive (10.8%, 4 of 37 reported conditions), ‘unspecified and other’ (10.8%, 4 of 37 reported conditions), neurological (8.1%, 3 of 37 reported conditions), and trauma (8.1%, 3 of 37 reported conditions). The most frequently reported specific conditions were colitis/ chronic colitis/ large bowel diarrhoea (3 cases), false pregnancy (3 cases), other (2 cases), and undiagnosed/ unknown (2 cases).
2004 Mortality results: A total of 69 deaths were reported for the Greyhound. The median age at death was 9 years and 1 month (min = 4 months, max = 14 years and 2 months). The most frequently reported causes of death by organ system or category were old age (17.4%, 12 of 69), urologic (15.9%, 11 of 69), cancer (13.0%, 9 of 69), and cardiac (13.0%, 9 of 69).
2014 Morbidity results: Health information was collected for just four live Greyhounds, of which three had no reported conditions and one was reported to be affected by one condition, which was an unspecified muscle, bone or joint condition.
2014 Mortality results: A total of just one death was reported for the breed. The age at death for this Greyhound was 10 years. The reported cause of death by organ system or category was bone tumour.
This comprehensive literature review was undertaken by the Kennel Club and should be noted that in most of the articles there is no distinction between which sub type of greyhound the subjects are (i.e. racing, show, coursing)
The literature review lays out the current scientific knowledge relating to the health of the breed. We have attempted to refer primarily to research which has been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. We have also incorporated literature that was released relatively recently to try to reflect current publications and research relating to the breed. Where specified in the paper we have noted whether the study was relevant to racing or show hounds.
Osteosarcoma: Osteosarcoma is a bone tumour that often affects larger breeds. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) of dogs from three breeds (including the Greyhound) identified 33 regions associated with osteosarcoma, all of which contained genes known to be involved in bone development (Karlsson et al, 2013). The authors concluded that the polygenic (multiple genes involved) nature of this complex condition explains the variability of disease seen between the breeds.
In a subsequent study, Sakthikumar et al (2018) performed whole-exome sequencing in dogs from the same three predisposed breeds (including 23 Greyhounds) and identified a large number of somatic copy-number alterations (SCNA) and mutations (including TP53 and SETD2) across breeds. Particular tumour suppressing genes have also been found to have an association with disease, primarily p53, PTEN, Rb and p16 (Russell et al, 2018). Research is being undertaken by the University of Nottingham to determine if the incidence of osteosarcoma differs between ex-racing hounds and the show type population. The Greyhound Club encouraged its members to participate in this research.
Heart disease: Of 230 Greyhounds with heart disease, the most common lesion was endocardiosis (10.4%, 24 of 230) (Schoning et al, 1995). Unfortunately, the full paper could not be accessed but has been referenced at the end of the BHCP. No further papers noting specific conditions could be found for the breed.
Vertebral heart size (VHS): A comparison of VHS between Greyhounds and other breeds revealed a significantly higher VHS in Greyhounds (Marin et al, 2007). In this study the mean VHS for Greyhounds was 10.5 ± 0.1. VHS above the reference range usually suggests cardiomegaly, however as Greyhounds generally have a higher VHS than other breeds, this should be considered to avoid misdiagnoses of heart disease.
Several papers make note of systolic murmurs, and higher biomarker levels such as hemocrit and NT-proBNP (N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide), and red blood cells, which in many breeds would be a sign of clinical disease, but in the Greyhound do not appear to be of any clinical relevance (Fabrizio et al, 2006; Couto et al, 2015). Similarly, there appear to be inter-breed differences, with racing dogs having higher left ventricular thickness, lower systemic vascular resistance, and higher cardiac indices compared to non-racing dogs. As well as this, there are also inter-sex differences (Lonsdale et al, 1998; Pape et al, 1986; Steel et al, 1976; Cox et al, 1976).
Periodontal disease: The Greyhound has been suggested to be a predisposed breed to dental disease and is particularly detailed in racing dogs (Rooney et al, 2021). A recent UK paper looked to determine whether regular brushing could reduce the development of calculus (buildup of plaque) and gingivitis (gum inflammation) in 160 hounds, and found that after two months the calculus was significantly reduced with both weekly and daily brushing. Gingivitis also reduced, but only significantly where daily brushing was undertaken. The authors advised that given the minimal time commitment and notable improvement in a relatively short amount of time, as well as associations between poor dental hygiene and disease such as endocarditis, daily brushing is recommended for the breed, particularly in the racing dogs. The Greyhound Club also worked with Nottingham University researchers who attended a club show and Crufts to do their work. Results have not yet been published.
Bald thigh syndrome: This disorder is seen in Greyhounds and other sighthounds and is characterised by hair loss on the thighs, hind legs, abdomen and chest. Hair loss comes and goes, with dogs of any age and sex affected, and a prevalence of ~16% in racing dogs (Brunner et al, 2018). A recent study identified structural defects in hair shafts of affected pet dogs and also looked to identify associative genetic regions, but were unable to find one single candidate, suggesting a complex mode of inheritance and possible interplaying environmental factors. The authors were able to propose that downregulation in several genes and proteins are likely to contribute towards disease development.
Corns/ canine papillomavirus: Corns are lesions that occur on the footpads of affected dogs and can cause limping and pain. A retrospective UK study evaluated 30 dogs presenting with disease, of which 20 were Greyhounds (9 racing and 11 unknown) and the remaining 10 sighthounds (Guillard et al, 2010). The most common causes for corn development were mechanical trauma or presence of a foreign body. Surgical removal gave good short-term results for the majority of dogs (74%) but poorer long-term results with 14 dogs having recurrent disease. Anis et al (2016) examined four corns from two unrelated Greyhounds from America and found a possible association between papillomavirus and corns in the breed.
Hereditary nasal parakeratosis (HNPK): This condition is characterised by the formation of crusty lesions on the nose of affected dogs which has been proposed as being inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. In a paper investigating six affected puppies out of a litter of eight, the known mutation in the Labrador (within the SUV39H2 gene) was not found to be causative for disease in this breed, but another second and unique Greyhound mutation was found to be associated (Bauer et al, 2018). Out of a population of 420 no affected dogs were found but several carriers were identified, with a proposed mutation frequency of 2%. A DNA test is available but not yet recognised by the Kennel Club.
Juvenile pancreatic atrophy/ pancreatic acinar atrophy: A retrospective study of 12 Greyhounds were assessed, with dogs presenting with clinical signs at eight weeks of age (Brenner et al, 2009). Interestingly, this is the only breed where concurrent immature-onset insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency where also noted in the affected puppies. No pedigree information was available for the dogs investigated so any potential hereditary basis could not be predicted. No further papers could be found detailing the condition in the breed.
Exercise-induced abdominal haemorrhage: The University of Nottingham autopsied 74 racing Greyhounds that had a sudden, unexpected death between 2015 and 2019 (Morey-Matamalas et al, 2020). Of these dogs, four (5.4%) had exercise-induced trauma to the right iliopsoas muscle, which caused abdominal haemorrhaging resulting in death. Possible factors for the Greyhound’s increased susceptibility to haemorrhaging and bleeding disorders compared with non-Greyhounds include a lower platelet count (Zaldívar-López et al, 2011), and slower blood clotting and weaker clot strength (Vilar et al, 2008).
Eosinophilic granuloma: This term refers to immune mediated conditions affecting the mucosa, palate, tongue and skin through the appearance of lesions, and is not well reported in the veterinary literature. The condition has been reported to affect several American littermates and one further adult dog of the breed (Woodward, 2006; Mendelsohn et al, 2019). The first author suggested the condition may have a hereditary component due to several puppies in one litter being affected, or that these dogs shared a dietary hypersensitivity that triggered the onset of disease.
Given the breed’s prominence in the racing industry it is unsurprising that there are multiple references to breed-specific injury incidence in the Greyhound (Morey-Matamalas et al, 2020); Palmer et al, 2021; Iddon et al, 2014). The Greyhound Board of Great Britain publish annual statistics on the number and cause of injuries recorded, further information can be found here: https://www.gbgb.org.uk/welfare-care/injury-and-retirement-data/
Clinical pathology: Reports of several unique haematological and biochemical characteristics in the Greyhound highlight the need for breed-specific reference intervals (Zaldívar-López et al, 2011; Couto, 2021).
Drost et al (2006) investigated whether the higher serum creatinine concentration reported in Greyhounds resulted from a decreased glomerular filtration rate (GFR – a test to determine the efficiency of kidney function). Of 10 retired racing Greyhounds and 10 non-Greyhounds, the Greyhounds had significantly higher serum creatinine concentrations and a higher GFR; therefore the researchers concluded that the higher creatinine concentration seen in Greyhounds was not the result of a decreased GFR. Liffman et al (2020) also found that the mean urine creatinine concentration was approximately 22% higher in Greyhounds than non-sighthounds, and the upper limit of the Greyhound’s UPC was 0.20-0.42. Although the breed-specific UPC reference intervals were slightly lower than the generic International Renal Interest Society (IRIS) guidelines, this difference was unlikely to be clinically significant, and therefore the researchers concluded that the IRIS guidelines could be used in Greyhounds. It has been proposed that the higher creatinine levels are due to the relatively increased muscle mass of the breed compared to other breeds tested.
The breed have been found to have a markedly reduced white blood cell count, as well as neutrophils and platelets, concentrations of haptoglobin (liver protein used to clear haemoglobin), and T4 (total thyroxine) (Zaldivar-Lopez et al, 2011).
Abnormal anaesthesia recovery has been recognised in the Greyhound with dogs given barbiturate medication taking longer to come round from anaesthesia, showing longer recovery times (over eight hours), and having longer periods of respiratory depression (Robinson et al, 1986). The levels of the enzyme cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2B11 have been suggested as playing a role in the breed’s poor response to particular anaesthetics, due to its purpose of clearing drug components from the liver and lower levels being detected in the breed (Martinez et al, 2019). More recently a genetic study was undertaken to determine any causative mutations for reduced CYP2B11 levels in the Greyhound and identified a significantly higher prevalence of CYP2B11-H3 in sighthounds, however it is worth noting that the levels did differ between two populations of Greyhounds (Martinez et al, 2020).
Malignant hyperthermia: This condition manifests through adverse reaction to anaesthetics and muscle relaxants, with affected animals presenting with a fast heart rate (tachycardia), hyperthermia and in severe cases can be fatal. It has been referenced in a number of breeds, including the Greyhound (Cosgrove et al, 1992; Kirmayer et al, 1984; Leary et al, 1983; Cohen, 1978; Bagshaw et al, 1978) with a group in 2001 identifying a mutation in the RYR1 gene, proposed as being inherited in an autosomal dominant manner (Roberts et al, 2001). However, it could not be confirmed that this mutation has been validated in the breed as causative.
Non-suppurative meningoencephalitis: Irish studies have detailed this neurological disease in the breed, with dogs presenting with clinical signs such as progressive lethargy (22 of 30 dogs), altered behaviour (21 dogs), abnormal posture (18 dogs) circling (17 dogs), ataxia (imbalance – 17 dogs), anorexia (15 dogs), weight loss (15 dogs), excessive vocalisation (nine dogs), and low head carriage (nine dogs) (Shiel et al, 2010). The median duration of clinical signs before death was four weeks (ranging from five days to 12 months). Meningoencephalitis can be caused by a range of factors but in the Greyhound has been suggested to have a hereditary basis (Greer et al, 2010), with two major histocompatibility complexes (MHCs or DLAs (dog leukocyte antigens) – groups of genes involved in the maintenance of the immune system) found to be associated with disease (Shiel et al, 2013), suggesting an immunogenetic component to disease.
Polyneuropathy: This condition was first identified in a pedigree of show Greyhounds, presenting with early-onset progressive neurological disease (between three and nine months of age), with clinical signs such as exercise intolerance, abnormal gait, muscle atrophy (wasting), ataxia (imbalance) and abnormal vocalisations (Drogemuller et al, 2010). Pedigree analysis indicated all affected puppies were related to a single popular sire born in 1968, with genomic sequencing identifying a mutation in NDRG1. The authors noted a high allele frequency at approximately 25%, most probably due to close breeding within the population. A DNA test is available.
Cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV)/ Alabama rot: This potentially fatal condition has been almost exclusively reported in racing Greyhounds, with several affected in the USA (Carpenter et al, 1988) and one affected in the UK (Hendricks, 2000), suggesting a possible predisposition in the breed. Affected dogs typically present with cutaneous ulcers on distal extremities and lesions in the kidney. In a retrospective study of 18 Greyhounds with CRGV, 10 presented with renal azotemia, a form of acute kidney failure (Cowan et al, 1997). All 10 dogs with renal azotemia died, whereas seven of the eight dogs without renal azotemia survived. Although the aetiology of CRGV is currently unknown, Hertzke et a (1995) described ultrastructural changes within the glomeruli (small blood vessels located at the end of the kidney tubule) of 12 Greyhounds diagnosed with CRGV and found that glomerular endothelial damage is an early indication of CRGV development. It has also been suggested that environmental factors may be involved in the development of the condition (Holm et al, 2020). Interestingly however, the breed was not found to be significantly predisposed to disease in a VetCompass paper looking at disease in UK dogs (Stevens et al, 2018).
The Kennel Club work closely with VetCompass at the Royal Veterinary College. VetCompass is a broad welfare research programme that collects anonymised clinical information from more than 1800 UK
veterinary practices and includes over 7.5 million dogs. VetCompass research can be used to identify common breed-specific conditions, or condition-specific concerns which affect a range of breeds. A
breed specific VetCompass paper has been published for the Greyhound, and the breed is also included in the condition-specific studies detailed below.
Breed-specific study: A VetCompass study used data from Greyhounds under veterinary care in the UK to estimate the one-year prevalence of commonly diagnosed disorders and reported causes of death in the breed (O’Neill et al, 2019). The median longevity for the Greyhound was 11.4 years of age (range 0.2 - 6.5); this was greater in females (11.8 years) than males (11.2 years) (P = 0.002). The most commonly reported causes of death were neoplasia (cancer), collapse, and musculoskeletal disorder.
The full breakdown of results are shown in Table 1(below). Given that these data are reported by general practice vets and includes all dogs reported to be Greyhounds this is likely to heavily represent the rescue/ ex-racing population.
Table 1 (below): Top reported causes of mortality in Greyhounds (n = 372)
|Cause of Death by Category||Count||Percentage|
|Spinal cord disorder||21||5.7%|
|Thin/ weight loss||17||4.6%|
|Poor quality of life||15||4.0%|
|Lower respiratory tract disorder||10||2.7%|
Based on 2,715 Greyhounds, 77.5% were reported to have at least one disorder. The most commonly reported conditions in the breed were periodontal (dental) disease, overgrown nails, wound, osteoarthritis, and claw injury (Table 2).
Table 2 (below): Top reported conditions in Greyhounds (n = 2,715)
|Urinary tract infection||29||1.1%|
Osteosarcoma: A recent VetCompass study found that the Greyhound was the fourth most common breed amongst cases of osteosarcoma (n=103, 5.9%), with an odds ratio of 6.98 (95%, C.I. 5.46-8.93) (Edmunds et al, 2021). Across breeds, increased body mass was also strongly associated with an increased risk of osteosarcoma.
Heart murmur: In a 2015 study, the Greyhound was found to be predisposed to heart murmurs, with an odds ratio of 1.78 (95% CI 1.32 – 2.41) (Mattin et al, 2015). Given the breed’s tendency to present with systolic murmurs that have little clinical relevance this may or may not suggest a predisposition to heart disease in the breed.
Periodontal disease: In a recent VetCompass study, the overall prevalence of periodontal disease in 22,333 dogs that attended primary care practices in the UK during 2016 was 12.52% (95% C.I. 12.09-12.97) (O’Neill et al, 2021). The Greyhound was one of 18 breeds that showed increased odds for periodontal disease (OR 2.58, 95% C.I. 1.75-3.80). Although the prevalence of periodontal disease in Greyhounds was slightly lower in this study (32.2%) than reported in the 2019 breed-specific study (39.0%), the high prevalence supports the view that this condition is still a priority issue in Greyhounds.
Leptospirosis: Of 905,543 dogs presented to primary-care practices during 2016, the Greyhound had increased odds of leptospirosis diagnosis when compared to crossbreeds (OR 2.94, 95% C.I. 2.02-4.26) (Taylor et al, 2021).
Heatstroke: A recent VetCompass paper investigated risk factors for heat-related illness, or heatstroke, and predisposing factors as part of a warming planet (Hall et al, 2020). Greyhounds were one of several breeds found to have a significantly increased risk of disease, with an odds ratio of 4.26 (95% CI 1.88-9.70) and incidence of 0.15% (95% CI 0.07-0.29%). As well as breed type, an increased bodyweight relative to breed/ sex and older age were also found to be predisposing factors across breeds.
Urinary incontinence: Urinary incontinence refers to the involuntary leaking of urine from the bladder. Of 100,397 bitches attending 119 clinics throughout England, the Greyhound had increased odds of urinary incontinence (OR 2.19, 95% C.I. 1.36-3.54) and prevalence of 6.4% (O’Neill et al, 2017). In a subsequent study, of 109,428 male dogs attending 119 clinics throughout England, the breed also had increased odds of urinary incontinence (OR 1.45, 95% C.I. 0.52-4.04) and prevalence of 1.21% (Hall et al, 2018).
Breed watch serves as an early warning system to identify points of concern for individual breeds. The aim from the Kennel Club, is that by providing information on breed specific health concerns allows judges, breeders and exhibitors to discourage the breeding of dogs with exaggerated conformational issues that are detrimental to health and welfare. For those interested there is a Breed Watch Illustrated Guide that can be purchased from the Kennel Club. There are three main categories with category three being breed such as pugs, Neapolitan mastiff, German shepherd dog. The Greyhound is a category one breed, meaning judges are not required to complete mandatory monitoring forms following an appointment as championship certificate level. To date no optional reports have been received for the breed.
PERMISSION TO SHOW
In the UK you need to get permission to show if any dog has any surgery that alters the appearance of the dog. As of the 1st January 2020 exhibits for which permission to show (PTS) following surgical intervention has been requested will no longer be published in the Breed Record Supplement and instead will be detailed in BHCPs, and a yearly report will be collated for the BHC. In the past five years, four reports have been received for the Greyhound (excluding neutering or caesarean sections), two were for tail amputation due to trauma, one for an operation to repair a fractured leg, and one for several teeth being removed due to fracture.
DNA TEST RESULTS
The Greyhound Club has long supported the one recognised DNA test for this breed by the Kennel Club, Greyhound Neuropathy (GN)
The DNA test was recognised for the breed in 2012, with to date 5.3% are carriers.
As a note, as of January 2023 hereditarily clear status will no longer apply after two generations and dogs will need to be retested to confirm the status of that individual. This is to prevent the possibility of misclassification of status and therefore unintentional breeding of affected puppies. Where parentage is confirmed by DNA profile, the major contributor to erroneous status will be removed. Therefore, a less stringent restriction for HC status is applied where parentage is confirmed by DNA test.
TRIANNUAL HEALTH SURVEY
The last survey to be undertaken was in 2021 and this time done by Survey Monkey are anonymous results sent to Kennel Club. The focus of this survey was solely on living dogs. The response numbers were disappointing; however it should be remembered there are very few show greyhounds in the ring or being bred at present.
A presentation of the full results was made at the Annual General meeting in March 2022.
Luckily there appeared to be no new trends, and pleasingly for questions relating to eye, ear , liver, blood, nervous system, and eosinophilic granuloma there were no dogs that had any of these conditions within the survey.
There were three surveys returned that indicated some form of heart disease. Although not able to be extracted from the anonymous online survey, the breed health coordinator holds the records for heart testing and with the consent of the breeder is able to share results of the affected dogs. The breeder of these three littermates did all the right things with heart testing both sire and dam, and both were clear. Anyone in the UK who heart tests their dog with a recognised cardiologist is encouraged to share their results with the breed health coordinator. These are stored anonymously, and total confidentiality is assured. The breed coordinator is working with the Kennel Club so that a data base set up to store this information.
Just one respondent said yes to having a dog with osteosarcoma, this was a racing bred dog and was 9 years when diagnosed. 2 further dogs identified as having osteosarcoma which were both
racing dogs in the section of deceased greyhounds, the dogs ages at time of death were 10 years and 9 years.
Again, one dog was identified as having bloat, however no further information was given by the respondent.
The breed is not currently on the BVA/KC/ISDS Known Inherited Ocular Disease (KIOD) list (formally Schedule A) for any condition under the BVA/KC/International Sheep Dog Society (ISDS) Eye Scheme.
KIOD lists the known inherited eye conditions in the breeds where there is enough scientific information to show that the condition is inherited in the breed, often including the actual mode of inheritance and in some cases even a DNA test.
As well as the KIOD list, the BVA record any other conditions affecting a dog at the time of examination, which is incorporated into an annual sightings report. Just one Greyhound participated in the BVA/KC/ISDS Eye Scheme between 2012-2018 and no comments were made.
AMERICAN COLLEGE OF VETERINARY OPHTHALMOLOGISTS (ACVO)
Results of examinations through ACVO are shown for conditions affecting over 1% of the examined population. Between 2015 and 2019, 117 Greyhounds were examined, of which 71.8% (84 of 117 dogs) were found to be unaffected by any eye condition. It is unknown whether this population represents show dogs, racing dogs, or a combination of the two.
Whilst it is important to note that these data represent dogs in America, the organisation tend to examine a higher number of dogs than that in the UK, and therefore are a valuable source of information.
Adapted from: https://www.ofa.org/diseases/eye-certification/blue-book
Considering this, The Greyhound Club are looking at working with an ophthalmologist to try to do a representative survey of show bred greyhounds in the UK to see if any further work is required. This will not be cheap and sources of funding are being looked at.
GENETIC DIVERSITY MEASURES
In view of the ever-decreasing numbers of show bred greyhound being bred in the UK, genetic diversity is, understandably of concern.
The effective population size is the number of breeding animals in an idealised, hypothetical population that would be expected to show the same rate of loss of genetic diversity (rate of inbreeding) as the population in question; it can be thought of as the size of the ‘gene pool’ of the breed. In the population analysis undertaken by the Kennel Club in 2020 on KC registered Greyhounds, an estimated effective population size of N/A was reported (estimated using the rate of inbreeding over the period 1980-2019). This implies a restoration in genetic diversity over the entire period analysed, however it should be noted that the small amount of animals registered will cause large fluctuations in the calculations over time.
Annual mean observed inbreeding coefficient (showing loss of genetic diversity) and mean expected inbreeding coefficient (from simulated ‘random mating’) over the period 1980-2019 are shown in Figure 5. The general trend in observed inbreeding coefficient has gradually declined, although with considerable fluctuation, indicating an awareness within the breed to carefully consider the inbreeding of a potential mating when selecting a mate.
It should be noted that, while animals imported from overseas may appear completely unrelated, this is not always the case. Often the pedigree available to the Kennel Club is limited in the number of generations, hampering the ability to detect true, albeit distant, relationships.
Figure 5 (Left): Annual mean observed and expected inbreeding coefficients.
The current annual breed average inbreeding coefficient is 6.4%.
Throughout the period analysed, there is evidence of several popular sires being used, with one dog being responsible for almost 12% of progeny registered in the past five years, however it must be remembered the very limited number of litters bred overall. Over-use of sires and their immediate progeny can have strong consequences on the breed’s genetic health and should be avoided; although it is appreciated that this is difficult to avoid given the small population of pedigree Greyhounds.
Following the correspondence between the Kennel Club and the breed regarding the evidence base of the Breed Health & Conservation Plans, the following actions were agreed to improve the health of the Greyhound.
Breed Club actions include:
The Breed Club to consider putting forward a proposal to the Assured Breeders Scheme for DNA testing of GN to be added as a requirement or recommendation, and consider any further health tests the breed would like added
The Breed Club to continue to engage in cancer and bloat research
The Breed Club to monitor the use of popular sires and raise awareness of the importance of considering genetic diversity when breeding
The Breed Club to give guidance to owners on appropriate dental care in the breed
The Breed Club to continue to encourage heart testing to monitor heart disease in the breed, and to encourage that any sires used from overseas are heart tested prior to registration of puppies
The Breed Club to look at opportunities to work with an ophthalmologist to research into eye diseases in show bred greyhounds. Results hopefully be used as a comparative study with racing/coursing bred dogs.
The breed club to continue to do three yearly general health surveys
Kennel Club actions include:
The Kennel Club to produce a piece on the importance of considering genetic diversity and popular sires when breeding, specifically for numerically small breeds
The Kennel Club to look at formalising heart testing to allow reporting of results
The Kennel Club to investigate what data the Greyhound Board of GB collate and health information pertaining to racing hounds
The Kennel Club to monitor research opportunities for the breed, particularly with respect to osteosarcoma and bloat
Thank you for reading and if anyone wishes to raise any concerns or queries relating to health matters then please do get in contact with me.
Clare Boggia email@example.com