Dental Cleanings for Retired Racing Greyhounds

A white Greyhound stands in a field at sunset.

Dental Cleanings for Retired Racing Greyhounds

Retired racing greyhounds make excellent pets and there are many rescue organizations that help find loving homes for these dogs. However, it is important to note that Greyhounds are unique among larger breeds in that they have a predisposition to periodontal disease. Often these dogs have not received any care for their teeth prior to coming to a rescue organization and can have painful oral diseases. They need an anesthetized dental exam, cleaning, and often extraction of severely diseased teeth. After professional treatment, it is important to start home dental care. Fortunately, it is easy to teach these calm, cooperative dogs how to enjoy getting their teeth brushed. Even with home dental care, professional dental cleanings for retired racing Greyhounds are essential for preventing periodontal disease.

Greyhounds & Risk for DEPOH

Owners of greyhounds may be hesitant to pursue treatment that requires general anesthesia because they are familiar with the fact that this breed has historically had difficulty recovering from anesthesia. What greyhound owners may not know is that a genetic mutation known as delayed postoperative hemorrhage (DEPOH) is common in the breed. DEPOH cannot be detected by routine screening. Affected dogs can clot their blood normally, but the clots break down too soon, causing bleeding. DEPOH causes bleeding from surgical sites and bruising 36-48 hours after surgery. The bleeding can be life-threatening and may even require a blood transfusion.

It is estimated that about 1/3 of retired racing greyhounds are affected, but other breeds can also carry this mutation. Some other breeds that have been identified include the Irish Wolfhound, Scottish Deerhound, Italian Greyhound, and even many breeds that are not related to sighthounds. Up until recently we had no way of knowing which dogs had the mutation in this gene and could only try to treat the problem after it occurred. Fortunately, a test that can determine which dogs are affected before surgery has been developed at Washington State University. If an affected dog needs surgery, a drug can be given ahead of time for dogs who have the DEPOH mutation. These dogs should also have more extensive post-operative monitoring. The mouth has a great blood supply, so it is important to be aware of DEPOH before dental surgery is performed. Up until recently we had no way of knowing which dogs had the mutation in this gene and could only try to treat the problem after it occurred. With the new development of this test and the proper drug and protocols, general anesthesia is now safe for this breed.

Retired Racing Greyhounds Make Excellent Pets

If you have ever considered adopting a retired racing greyhound, don’t hesitate to ask other greyhound owners for their opinion. Greyhounds are well-loved by their owners and rescue dogs are always grateful for a loving home. You will be rewarded with a beautiful pet and the knowledge that you have helped a dog in need.

If you have adopted a retired racing Greyhound and are concerned about your pet’s oral condition, please schedule a consultation with our team at Animal Dental Care and Oral Surgery Fort Collins. Our team is committed to a low-stress visit for your pet and our Board-Certified Veterinary DentistTM, Dr. MJ Redman, will tailor a specific anesthetic and treatment plan for their needs!


Photo by Tonia Kraakman on Unsplash