13 Jan 10 Italian Greyhound Common Health Problems
Characterised by their lean frames, narrow muzzles, elegant shoulders and tall, long legs, Italian Greyhounds are known for their athletic prowess. While they do appear small and delicate, as compared to regular greyhounds, Italian Greyhounds are generally regarded as quite a healthy dog breed. This is because they do not get sick easily. However, health issues lie in their fragile bone structure which causes them to have a lot of fractures and injuries, and sometimes may even cause the occurrence of issues such as hip dysplasia.
Italian Greyhounds have a life expectancy of roughly 12-15 years. It also makes a good house pet because the breed is primarily gentle in nature. The breed has an affectionate temperament and is quite good with families. However, the delicate bone structure of the breed makes it quite prone to issues. Italian Greyhounds are therefore not quite suitable for families with little children as aggressive or rough play may hurt the breed because of their slim and bony frame.
1) Hip, Leg and Other Fractures: As mentioned earlier, they have long legs and quite a fragile bone structure. While this assists them in their speed and agility, it causes them to have quite a few fractures. They are most prone to fractures of the hip and leg. While fractures may be one of the most common issues, not all Italian Greyhounds have a fracture in their lifetime. Whether they are prone to fractures or not depends on a case-to-case basis, and especially depends upon their individual bonne density. However, because of having very long and skinny legs, they can very easily fracture their hips and legs.
2) Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): Another very common issue in Italian Greyhounds is Progressive Retinal Atrophy. This is a genetic disease that leads to permanent blindness in affected dogs over a period of time. Affected dogs are born with normal sight which gradually decreases over time. The inherited disease isn’t believed to be painful for them. While there are currently no known treatments for Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), signs that an Italian Greyhound may suffer from Retinal Atrophy include night blindness and dilated pupils.
3) Luxating Patella: A luxating patella or a Patellar luxation usually occurs when the kneecap does not stay in the place it is supposed to. It keeps on sliding in and out of position which in turn causes a lot of pain for the Italian Greyhound and also causes the dog to walk abnormally. While this health issue may not always be too severe and several dogs of this breed may get away with regular monitoring and care, this problem is usually corrected only with the help of veterinary surgery. It is best to consult your veterinarian to find out whether or not your dog requires a corrective surgery. Your pet may be able to get away with regular intake of supplements and close monitoring.
4) Seizure and Epilepsy: Issues such as a seizure and epilepsy are quite common for Italian Greyhounds. Some of the common causes for epilepsy and seizures are – a. Stress b. Allergic reactions c. Low blood sugar d. Cancer
Seizures are neurological disorders that can cause dizziness and even fainting. If your Italian Greyhound has a seizure, it is best to consult to your veterinarian immediately. You can book a Vet Consult at Southern Cross Veterinary Clinic or by clicking ‘Book an Appointment’ on the top of our webpage.
5) Allergies and Intolerances: Allergies and Intolerances are some of the things which are often overlooked but can cause a lot of Italian Greyhound health issues. For example, upon being stung by a bee or coming in contact with another bug or insect, your dog may experience swelling, dizziness, or sometimes, even more severe allergic reactions. Other than bugs and insects, consuming certain food products may also lead to allergies. Like humans, even our canine friends may be predisposed to allergic reactions from eating certain types of proteins (eggs, beef, chicken, turkey, seafood – your canine may be allergic to one of these!).
6) Hypothyroidism: Another common issue is that of hypothyroidism. This occurs, when the thyroid gland of the Italian Greyhound dog, doesn’t produce enough of the thyroid hormone. Signs that your pet may be suffering from hypothyroidism include epilepsy, fatigue, patchy skin and loss of hair. If you notice any of these of signs in your pet, you must seek the advice of your veterinarian immediately.
7) Dental trouble: Like with all other dogs and cats, maintaining proper dental health and hygiene is paramount. As a pet owner, it is important for you to brush their teeth at least once a week, if not more! If their teeth are not maintained properly, it could lead to the presence of tartar and thereby cause tooth decay and tooth loss. It is vital to get your dog accustomed to getting their teeth brushed at an early age – especially Italian Greyhounds as they are quite energetic and run off very easily when you try to clean their teeth. Getting them accustomed to brushing their teeth at an early age makes managing their dental hygiene much easier. You may also opt to get your Italian Greyhound’s teeth cleaned clinically at your preferred Vet Clinic. Learn more about the dental services we offer at Southern Cross Veterinary Clinic.
8) Undescended Testicles: This issue is also known as Cryptorchidism. This is a common issue with Italian Greyhounds, however, it only affects the male population of this dog breed. This is a condition amongst male Italian Greyhounds where both their testicles fail to descend to their proper location. Dogs that suffer from Cryptorchidism are prone to testicular cancer. A castration or desexing surgery is often recommended to prevent this condition. It is recommended to speak to your veterinarian to see whether your dog would require a desexing surgery or not.
9) Colour Dilution Alopecia (CDA): Certain Italian Greyhounds, particularly those with a blue or fawn fur coat may suffer from what is known as Colour Dilution Alopecia. This condition affects the fur, causing it to thin down and in some extreme cases, causes the fur to go completely bald. This condition starts affecting certain dogs by the time they turn 6 months old and often makes them completely bald by the time they turn 3 years old. While this is an external condition only and does not affect their internal health in any way, affected dogs require advanced skin care and should not be exposed to direct sunlight for too long.
10) Cataracts: The final issue affecting Italian Greyhounds on this list is that of Cataracts. Cataracts come into existence when a cloudy membrane develops over the eyes of canines. In
Italian Greyhounds, in particular, this condition can easily be corrected by performing surgery.
In conclusion, it can be said that Italian Greyhounds are not very prone to health issues. The breed tends to have an average life span of up to 15 years and is very gentle and affectionate in nature. While they may be prone to fractures and skin issues because of their fragile bone structure, active monitoring and regular use of supplements with the help of your veterinarian can effectively help in maintaining their health.