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Greyhound Health Issues (Ibd, Worms, Tbd, Etc.) Studies


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Guest AngelPup

I did a search here before posting this but nothing came up, so....

 

I'm just wondering, with all the preventable health issues Retired Racing Greyhounds seem to have coming off the track, whether there has been any studies as to why so many of them have digestive issues and what the causes are. I realize that it may appear that more greys have issues because people typically come here to find answers to problems they may be having, but it just seems like an inordinate number of dogs have IBD. It's not just on these boards. I've met many people at greyhound events lately. It seems that most people I speak with who have greyhounds have had or are having issues with chronic diarrhea.

 

Brady had hookworms and chronic diarrhea when I adopted him in May. He has been diagnosed with IBD (most likely colitis). After four months of treatement and finding a dog food he can tolorate, he finally has consistently 'normal' stools. He's almost completely weaned off the Flagyl.

 

I realize that just the fact that they live in kennels with other dogs puts them at greater risk of illness, but I still think that prevention is the best medicine and many of the health issues we see with these dogs can be minimized if we could find out what the cause is and improve treatement practices.

 

 

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I'm not familiar with any research studies. I vaguely remember Greyhounds for Dummies mentioning diarrhea in greyhounds. But all I remember is that it said it is mostly stress-related, and you can fix it by adding yogurt. I think it also recommends that you should also buy expensive food and remember that you get what you pay for, or something like that. Because Greyhounds for Dummies is required reading for a lot of potential adopters, it's weird that it doesn't go into more detail.

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Haven't looked for studies.

 

Technically, you need a biopsy to diagnose IBD. That is rarely done (for good reason in most cases).

 

I see adoption kennel/home practices contributing to a lot of loose-poop and other digestive distress problems -- inadequate worming, no fecal culture when one is warranted, too short a course of meds, persistently feeding various supplements (yogurt, pumpkin, herbals, oils) to which an individual dog may be sensitive, persistently feeding a food or type of food or a treat to which an individual dog may be sensitive, overfeeding .......

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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They haven't done studies in dogs that I am aware of but, I read in the WSJ that they are doing studies in people and some of the studies are looking at the increased use of antibiotics in protein sources like chicken. There are some mumblings in the scientific community that it kills off the "good" bacteria in the gut and leaves the "bad" bacteria to thrive. This weakens the functioning of the GI tract and brings in even more problems with inadequate absorption of nutrients and so on ....

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Haven't looked for studies.

 

Technically, you need a biopsy to diagnose IBD. That is rarely done (for good reason in most cases).

 

I see adoption kennel/home practices contributing to a lot of loose-poop and other digestive distress problems -- inadequate worming, no fecal culture when one is warranted, too short a course of meds, persistently feeding various supplements (yogurt, pumpkin, herbals, oils) to which an individual dog may be sensitive, persistently feeding a food or type of food or a treat to which an individual dog may be sensitive, overfeeding .......

 

Yes, yes, and YES to the above! Adding to that is trying too many "treatments" at one time and not allowing enough time for the treatment to work. While we can all relate to wanting diarrhea to stop and stop now, identifying the true cause and finding (or stumbling upon) a treatment that works usually takes time.

Linda, Mom to Fuzz, Barkley, and the felines Miss Kitty, Simon and Joseph.Waiting at The Bridge: Alex, Josh, Harley, Nikki, Beemer, Anna, Frank, Rachel, my heart & soul, Suze and the best boy ever, Dalton.<p>

:candle ....for all those hounds that are sick, hurt, lost or waiting for their forever homes. SENIORS ROCK :rivethead

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I agree with the above. And if our experience is at all typical, and I fear that it is, the problem is made worse by vets who don't take these problems seriously to start with, don't do appropriate testing and treatment, and then things escalate from small problems to big problems. So to the above list I'd add vets who think they know about greyhounds but don't know enough, don't understand the implications of coming from tracks/kennels, don't quite register that coming from other states means exposure to problems not native to the current state (e.g., types of worms, TBDs), don't tell owners that negative fecal tests don't mean absence of worms, and don't suggest fecal cultures instead of fecal tests in response to indications of bacterial infection or overgrowth.

Mary with Jumper Jack (2/17/11) and angels Shane (PA's Busta Rime, 12/10/02 - 10/14/16) and Spencer (Dutch Laser, 11/25/00 - 3/29/13).

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Guest AngelPup

Great responses. In reading them all, I guess this is a VERY complex issue that can be attributed to WAY too many things to be able to pinpoint something that would actually make a difference. Plus, I don't think that there are many adoption agencies that can afford major healthcare expenses. It's just in my nature to try to get to the root cause and fix the problem instead of treating the symptoms. I also remembered that I DID come across information on a study that is currently being done at Texas A&M a while back when Brady's previous vet wanted to start doing expensive testing...

 

Here it is: http://vetmed.tamu.edu/gilab/research/canine-ibd

 

It's not limited to Greyhounds though. Maybe we should inundate them with our dogs!


I'm going to ask my vet about it the next time I speak with her.

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Great responses. In reading them all, I guess this is a VERY complex issue that can be attributed to WAY too many things to be able to pinpoint something that would actually make a difference. Plus, I don't think that there are many adoption agencies that can afford major healthcare expenses. It's just in my nature to try to get to the root cause and fix the problem instead of treating the symptoms. I also remembered that I DID come across information on a study that is currently being done at Texas A&M a while back when Brady's previous vet wanted to start doing expensive testing...

 

Here it is: http://vetmed.tamu.edu/gilab/research/canine-ibd

 

It's not limited to Greyhounds though. Maybe we should inundate them with our dogs!

I'm going to ask my vet about it the next time I speak with her.

We went through this trauma with Charlotte, sudden onset of vomiting and the worst diarrhea. Took her to our regular vet who ran bloodwork that came back "great." Next day, went to the e-vet in a panic. Without a biopsy (which we chose not to do) we were told either IBD or lymphoma. Charlotte never experienced anything like this and after a night at the e-vet we chose to let her go at age 10. We just felt there was no "easy" fix for what ailed her. I have been investigating and researching this for 2 months...not having the heart to put her through surgery and diagnostics that very likely would have produced no clear cut answers and being unwilling to try tweaking her diet I THINK we made the right decision.

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There is a misconception with many folks that GI woes are IBD. IBD is a true disease of its own. The term IBD is often misused whenever a dog has diarrhea. IBD needs to be diagnosed via a biopsy. The bowels are inflammed and often because of an immune mediated response. So, while your dog may have diarrhea it does not mean your dog has IBD.

To answer the op's question. I do think there is a higher incidence of true IBD with our retired racers.

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Guest AngelPup

There is a misconception with many folks that GI woes are IBD. IBD is a true disease of its own. The term IBD is often misused whenever a dog has diarrhea. IBD needs to be diagnosed via a biopsy. The bowels are inflammed and often because of an immune mediated response. So, while your dog may have diarrhea it does not mean your dog has IBD.

To answer the op's question. I do think there is a higher incidence of true IBD with our retired racers.

 

Agree completely. Brady is stable now, but it took much time and money (and frustration) to get him where he is now. I just think it would be worthwhile to figure out WHY retired racers have such a high incidence of IBD so, hopefully, changes can be made to prevent so many dogs from suffering with it. These dogs seem to be coming off the track with these issues, so I just wonder whether its the food they eat, that they are not adequately treated for worms/TBDs,etc. Whether they are on preventives at the track... Are dogs that win races treated better than those that aren't great racers? While it can be expensive to adequately treat or use preventives and feed a better diet, I would imagine that the dogs would have a better chance of running well (and potentially winning) if they actually felt good and were healthy...

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Great thread. I had an IBD pup diagnosed through biopsy via endoscope. The most frustrating disease ever. It took 9 months to diagnose. His stomach and intestinal cramping made him act strange and we thought it was neurological at first. After all those months seeing vets at a top animal hospital, I was surprised how little time was spent discussing diet. On my own I took him to a nutritionist and finally got control for a while but lost him at the age of nine.

 

I spend a fair amount of time with greyhound people. A couple theories I'm thinking about is worms are a big problem and go undiagnosed often due to negative tests. Also, I'm beginning to wonder if greys do better on higher protein diets. The other thought is maybe an limited ingredient kibble can help during the transition to home life. All just theories.

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I agree with that. My theory is that prolonged parasite (particularly hookworm) infestation can damage the GI tract badly enough that many greys have ultra sensitive stomachs no matter what you do. I don't know if they're routinely wormed and given preventatives at the track. Does anybody know the answer to that?

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They are routinely wormed.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest AngelPup

Great thread. I had an IBD pup diagnosed through biopsy via endoscope. The most frustrating disease ever. It took 9 months to diagnose. His stomach and intestinal cramping made him act strange and we thought it was neurological at first. After all those months seeing vets at a top animal hospital, I was surprised how little time was spent discussing diet. On my own I took him to a nutritionist and finally got control for a while but lost him at the age of nine.

 

I spend a fair amount of time with greyhound people. A couple theories I'm thinking about is worms are a big problem and go undiagnosed often due to negative tests. Also, I'm beginning to wonder if greys do better on higher protein diets. The other thought is maybe an limited ingredient kibble can help during the transition to home life. All just theories.

 

Diet DEFINITELY helped Brady. We were on the verge of spending God knows how much money on expensive testing and procedures when I decided to get a second opinion. Seriously, I was SO happy to find a vet that is very familiar with retired racers and the first food change she recommended (something w/beet pulp in it) worked! I don't know why more vets don't know that. I'm not sure about the higher protein diet, but my Brady definitely needs a high fiber diet.

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Guest AngelPup

I agree with that. My theory is that prolonged parasite (particularly hookworm) infestation can damage the GI tract badly enough that many greys have ultra sensitive stomachs no matter what you do. I don't know if they're routinely wormed and given preventatives at the track. Does anybody know the answer to that?

 

Yes, I wish there were a way to blast all hookworms from the face of the earth! HATE them. I'm pretty sure they routinely treat worms at the racing kennels, but haven't a clue if they use preventatives. I think they should if they don't!

 

I'm also wondering whether the food they are fed at the tracks creates an issue. I can't imagine that meat from sick/diseased/dead livestock and spoiled meat can be good for them.

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Yes, I wish there were a way to blast all hookworms from the face of the earth! HATE them. I'm pretty sure they routinely treat worms at the racing kennels, but haven't a clue if they use preventatives. I think they should if they don't!

 

I'm also wondering whether the food they are fed at the tracks creates an issue. I can't imagine that meat from sick/diseased/dead livestock and spoiled meat can be good for them.

I don't think the track diet has anything to do with the problem. I can't imagine a kennel feeding something that would cause stomach problems and diarrhea like people are seeing in their greyhounds at home. Dealing with 1 or 2 dogs with diarrhea is one thing, 30 to 40 is quite another. Remember too, that the dogs are usually kept in a foster kennel or home where kibble is usually fed for weeks to months prior to adoption. The food switch from track diet to kibble is what I think is the major contributing factor.

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Guest AngelPup

I don't think the track diet has anything to do with the problem. I can't imagine a kennel feeding something that would cause stomach problems and diarrhea like people are seeing in their greyhounds at home. Dealing with 1 or 2 dogs with diarrhea is one thing, 30 to 40 is quite another. Remember too, that the dogs are usually kept in a foster kennel or home where kibble is usually fed for weeks to months prior to adoption. The food switch from track diet to kibble is what I think is the major contributing factor.

 

I would hope not. I'm sure the food switch and the fact that the adoption kennels feed them whatever dog food they have on hand at the time contributes.

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Remember that racing greyhounds have been weaned on and fed a track diet their entire lives and that is what their system is used to. Switching from that to kibble is quite a drastic change (imagine it as a human). I would be curious to know if pet dogs with digestive issues had these same issues on the track diet, and/or if track dogs have the same number of digestive problems as the pets seem to have.

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Most farm and racing greyhounds are fed kibble as a goodly part of their diet. It isn't a new substance to them.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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We went through this trauma with Charlotte, sudden onset of vomiting and the worst diarrhea. Took her to our regular vet who ran bloodwork that came back "great." Next day, went to the e-vet in a panic. Without a biopsy (which we chose not to do) we were told either IBD or lymphoma. Charlotte never experienced anything like this and after a night at the e-vet we chose to let her go at age 10. We just felt there was no "easy" fix for what ailed her. I have been investigating and researching this for 2 months...not having the heart to put her through surgery and diagnostics that very likely would have produced no clear cut answers and being unwilling to try tweaking her diet I THINK we made the right decision.

I learned that with hookworms, the fecal exam can come back negative because they don't find eggs so it has to be done in a cyclical pattern. Vomiting, bloody diarrhea and lethargy are symptoms of many things so luckily, the tests results were positive right away which allowed us to start aggressive treatment immediately.

 

We make decisions based on the knowledge and resources at the moment, so there's no sense second guessing, you did what you did out of love for Charlotte.

Jan with precious pups Emmy (Stormin J Flag) and Simon (Nitro Si). Missing my angels: Bailey Buffetbobleclair 11/11/98-17/12/09; Ben Task Rapid Wave 5/5/02-2/11/15; Brooke Glo's Destroyer 7/09/06-21/06/16 and Katie Crazykatiebug 12/11/06 -21/08/21. My blog about grief The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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Yes, I wish there were a way to blast all hookworms from the face of the earth! HATE them. I'm pretty sure they routinely treat worms at the racing kennels, but haven't a clue if they use preventatives. I think they should if they don't!

 

I'm also wondering whether the food they are fed at the tracks creates an issue. I can't imagine that meat from sick/diseased/dead livestock and spoiled meat can be good for them.

Fed 4D meat is a myth. Greyhounds are athletes, in great physical conditions and often are the breadwinners. Owners/trainers are not going to feed them food that makes them sick, rather they feed them what they need to perform at their peak. This is silly to think they get fed food that makes them sick.

 

Katie was asymptomatic, so my best guess is the hooks were dormant until the stress of moving into our home caused a flare up. I've read articles and "stress" is always mentioned as a contributing factor. Living in a home is very very different from their kennel or farm environments.

Jan with precious pups Emmy (Stormin J Flag) and Simon (Nitro Si). Missing my angels: Bailey Buffetbobleclair 11/11/98-17/12/09; Ben Task Rapid Wave 5/5/02-2/11/15; Brooke Glo's Destroyer 7/09/06-21/06/16 and Katie Crazykatiebug 12/11/06 -21/08/21. My blog about grief The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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Fed 4D meat is a myth. Greyhounds are athletes, in great physical conditions and often are the breadwinners. Owners/trainers are not going to feed them food that makes them sick, rather they feed them what they need to perform at their peak. This is silly to think they get fed food that makes them sick.

 

Katie was asymptomatic, so my best guess is the hooks were dormant until the stress of moving into our home caused a flare up. I've read articles and "stress" is always mentioned as a contributing factor. Living in a home is very very different from their kennel or farm environments.

Jan, I'm so glad you mentioned about stress being a contributing factor in hookworm flare ups. It certainly explains a lot of the problems we see. Hope Katie is feeling better.

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Guest AngelPup

Most farm and racing greyhounds are fed kibble as a goodly part of their diet. It isn't a new substance to them.

 

Yes, they do get kibble with raw meat added. It's the raw meat part that I would think can make them sick. Not sure whether it is a factor in harming their digestive system...

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Guest AngelPup

Fed 4D meat is a myth. Greyhounds are athletes, in great physical conditions and often are the breadwinners. Owners/trainers are not going to feed them food that makes them sick, rather they feed them what they need to perform at their peak. This is silly to think they get fed food that makes them sick.

 

Katie was asymptomatic, so my best guess is the hooks were dormant until the stress of moving into our home caused a flare up. I've read articles and "stress" is always mentioned as a contributing factor. Living in a home is very very different from their kennel or farm environments.

 

Actually, I've read about the food racers eat from reputable sources and they do indeed eat 4D..raw or cooked (mixed with kibble, pasta, and fruits/vegis). This website is pro racing and they mention it. http://www.greyhoundinfo.org/?page_id=68 Now, I'm not claiming to be an expert on the dangers of raw 4D meat, but if it's so healthy, than why is it illegal to sell it as food grade for human consumption? I realize dogs aren't human, but there is no way I'd feed it to my dog. Personally, I'd feel better if it was at least cooked, but that's me.

 

And I'm not saying that the food racers eat is causing them to have IBD--it's just speculation. That's why I think having a study to determing the cause would be helpful.

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Yes, they do get kibble with raw meat added. It's the raw meat part that I would think can make them sick. Not sure whether it is a factor in harming their digestive system...

Grain-based kibble is a far less biologically appropriate food than raw meat is.

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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