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Health Matters

  • Reference Material
    • Dr. Susan Stack is the long standing authority on adopted greyhounds and their health quirks. Her information is written by a vet and can be printed and taken to your vet. Yes, it is older information but it is timeless. PLEASE – If your vet is suggesting a course of action you are reluctant to take or they cannot figure out why something is happening, check here: www.greythealth.com Greyhounds are different! Be sure to know about foot warts and Lumbar Stenosis and the idiosyncracies of their blood work! This one reference tool has changed the lives of countless greys.
    • Current information – Check on www.Greytalk.com or other internet sites and message boards for “latest methods” information when you are dealing with an obscure health issue. Remember to look for the simplest explanation first.
    • Retired Racing Greyhounds for Dummies by Lee Livingood. Part of the famous yellow & black Dummies Book series, this book has some good ideas and information in it. It is more oriented to the north and less to our southern dogs (think tropical climate, more outside time, no snow.) It is available on Amazon or in the bookstores or online. Yes there is a Kindle Edition.

  • Health Basics
    • It is important that you have a local vet who is familiar with greyhounds. All vets will tell you they are familiar with greyhounds but when the vet’s not around, casually ask the office staff how many greyhounds they see in their practice. That’s more telling. There’s more to greyhounds than the little bit they learn in vet school! If you need a referral, call FoG and if we don’t know a good greyhound vet in your area, we’ll try to put you in touch with other greyhound owners in the area who have more “local knowledge”.
    • Don’t Panic! When dealing with a greyhound health problem, greyhounds are very, very attuned to your personal concerns. You need to let them know that you are in control and going to take great care of them. Just like children, panic will make it worse for both of you.
    • REMEMBER – NO CHOCOLATE, ONIONS, RAISINS OR GRAPES!!
    • Avoid some of the magazines and “reference” booklets in the pet stores. Most of these take standard ideas and try to make them fit all dogs. One pet chain sold a Greyhound care magazine that had a center, color, foldout photo of a greyhound at a table with a bowl of fruit in front of him. Prominent in the bowl were two big bunches of grapes!! It told owners that greyhounds love fruit. (Grapes are one of the four toxic foods that should not be fed to greyhounds!!)
    • Do your dog a favor. Take 20 minutes and re-read the manual of care you got when you adopted. You are way past some of it but there’s a lot in there that you have forgotten. It’s online if you can’t find your copy!

  • Specific Health Matters
    • FOOT CORNS – These are the curse of the greyhound. If your greyhound is limping (usually more pronounced on hard surfaces than on carpet or grass), check the pads of the paws for rough patches or lumps. That may well be a corn. They are sometimes called Foot Warts. They are caused by some odd bacterial thingees and there doesn’t seem to be a way to avoid them. Some dogs are plagued by them and many never have a single one. Go figure! New treatments come out regularly. Check with the reference websites at the beginning of this for the latest info.
    • Treating Corns – There are many excellent products out for greyhound corns. All work on some. None work on all. It’s trial and error. But left untreated, the corns will spread to other feet and toes and make your dog miserable. It’s like walking with a stone in your shoe. So. . .
      • I discourage people from letting their vets dig out the corn. It usually just grows back. However, if the corn is quite large, you may have to dig some of it out just to start other treatment.
      • try a Thera-Paw bootie. Sometimes it’s enough or can be used in conjunction with other treatments
      • Normal, human corn removers (Dr. Scholl’s type things)
      • a small piece of duct tape covering the corn makes walking easier and has been reported to “smother” the corn and it falls out. If you have it, use Gorilla tape. It sticks better but you’ll have to retape frequently with either kind. (Worth the effort though)
      • Murray Avenue Apothecary (www.murrayavenuerx.com) has a greyhound wart treatment that has worked for many dogs with particularly tough corns. Their site is very informative with good videos and photos.
    • DENTAL PROBLEMS – Racing greyhounds have been bred for many generations for speed and agility and aerodynamics – – but not for strong teeth or bones! You need to give your dog’s teeth as much or more care than you do your own or you will spend your life in the kitchen making up “yummy” slops in an attempt to get your toothless grey to eat!!
      • Brush your dog’s teeth. Use a dog or kids’ toothbrush (it’s smaller) and dog toothpaste. Don’t use people toothpaste because it has ingredients like fluoride that neither humans or dogs should swallow. We spit it out but dogs can’t spit!
      • Dental Chews – Greenies or other brands (same basic things) are “treats” and they love them. This will help.
      • A good rawhide or shank bone helps and they love it.
      • Veterinarians can do a dental cleaning under anesthesia and will pull or work on teeth as needed. Get a price quote first and be sure you have the right vet. You don’t want the dog anesthetized a moment longer than necessary. Try not do this more than once a year.
      • Non-anesthesia dentals – I have a local groomer (Boss the Pet Connection – has four stores in Broward County) who does dental cleanings without anesthesia. From what I can tell, it’s matter of chipping off the problem plaque and then a good brushing. It’s not risky and certainly helps. Much less expensive, too. You may be able to find a local groomer that does this. Ask to watch them the first time so you are sure they know how to handle a grey.
      • Some vets have groups come to their offices to do non-anesthesia dentals. Same thing as the groomer but four times the price. And if they find something else wrong with the teeth, they refer you to the vet for a regular dental. It’s amazing how often they find things!! So you end up paying for both procedures.
    • CALMING COLLAR – This is a reasonably new arrival in our arsenal. www.amazon.com/SENTRY-Calming-Collar-Dogs-Pack/dp/B0083F95O6. It is a thin rubber collar infused with Chamomile and Lavender. It has made a big difference in the attitudes of some of our rowdier dogs. It doesn’t seem to work for every one of them but it certainly helps. It cost $15.99 for one collar at the dog store. Probably cost more at the vet. But I got a 3 pack for $15 online. No script necessary. So if you have a barking problem, insecurity, minor aggression, nervous peeing, it’s probably worth a try. We have an old lady dog who’s previous owner let her sleep on the bed, which we don’t do. She’d get on the bed and if we touched her during the night, she’d growl at us. We were concerned that if she was startled, she’d snap. Plus she barks when she wants something. With the calming collar, there’s no growling and less barking. Not a cure but definitely a help.
    • EMERGENCY VETS – All of you should have a regular veterinarian even if your dog is healthy. But if that office does not have 24 hour service, you need to take the time to find out where you would go in an emergency on a Sunday or at night. Ask your vet who they recommend or who they cooperate with. Write down the address and put it in your phone. Then drive there from your home so you know the route. And if you move, update the information.

  • Health Matters – “General Maintenance”
    • Fleas & Ticks – Yes, we live in Florida and with all the flea & tick preventions we use, there should not be a flea or a tick closer than Georgia! But, the reality is that they procreate faster than we do and if we get bombed into oblivion, they will probably still be doing fine. So. . .
    • Initial basics: Never Dip A Greyhound. If a vet or groomer suggests this, get a new vet or groomer. “Dip” is actually more often sprayed on these days although in the beginning is was more of a bath. It is a poison designed to stay on the dog’s skin and fur for a long time and smother the critters on board. It will make a greyhound deathly ill. So I repeat – Never Dip A Greyhound!!
    • I don’t like oral (i.e. chewable or liquid taken by mouth) flea/tick killers. Many, many of you have already heard my explanations but here we go again – – If you were going to a BBQ and there might be mosquitos, would you drink the “Off” (or Cutter or whatever) or would you spray it on your skin? If you drink it, that poison will go through all of your vital organs to finally be secreted through the pores of your skin so the mosquitos will get it when they bite. Is that what you want? Probably not. Instead we spray something on our skin and try to save our liver, kidneys, etc. So why is it okay for you to give an entire month’s worth of flea and/or tick poison to your dog and try to tell him it’s a treat? Let it nest in his system to live out the month. Ugh!! NO ORAL FLEA OR TICK MEDS!! There are topical options that are much safer especially for our greyhounds. I don’t care what your vet tells you!! Yes, it may leave a wet patch on their back for a few days. Big Deal! It doesn’t poison their vital organs.