Photo of Deerhound Matylda on the Isle of Skye by Barbara Slezakova.

by John Dillberger, DVM

Reprinted from the January/February 1998 Claymore

(Editor’s note: The list of sulpha antibiotics has changed since this article was first published; check with your vet when your dog is prescribed any antibiotic to make sure it is not T/S.)

Antibiotics are one of our greatest weapons in the war against human and animal diseases. These drugs have prevented untold suffering and death, and are rightly viewed as twentieth-century miracles. One of the most successful of these antibiotics is actually a combination of two separate bacteria-killers: trimethoprim and a sulfonamide (or sulfa drug for short). Read more

Photo of Deerhounds by Cally Whitman.

by John E. Dillberger, DVM

Reprinted from the January/February 2012 Claymore.

In response to last month’s column, I received a note from Scottie Sterrett about the example I used to illustrate genetic testing.  The point that she touched on is so important that I wanted to share her letter and my response with everyone.  I hope this will stimulate further conversation about the issues that genetic testing raises for all of us. Read more

Genetic Testing Versus Health Testing

by John E. Dillberger, DVM

Reprinted from the November/December 2011 Claymore.

We are in the midst of a genetic test explosion in dogs.  Almost every month, a research group announces that they have found a gene responsible for a particular disease in dogs, or that they are offering a genetic test for the disease, or both.

In the excitement generated by all of this progress, it is easy to confuse a genetic test with a health test.  In some cases, a genetic test is a health test.  Other times, it isn’t at all clear what, if anything, the genetic test result means for a dog’s health.  And even when a genetic test is truly a health test, the results have to be interpreted with caution, just as one would interpret the results of any other sort of health test. Read more

Deerhound by Pekka Winter

by John Dillberger, DVM

Reprinted from the March/April 2015 Claymore

Last month a member of the Health and Genetics Committee called my attention to an organization called the Institute for Canine Biology (ICB), and in particular its 16-point manifesto entitled “Why You Need Population Genetics:  The “Elevator Pitch.”  During the discussion that followed, I expressed my opinion about the organization and its manifesto to the committee by email.  Since then, a couple of Deerhounders have asked me about the ICB, so I thought it would be a good idea to devote this month’s column to the organization. Read more

Photo of Deerhound puppies taken by Miranda Levin

by John Dillberger, DVM

Reprinted from the September/October 2014 Claymore

In 2011 I wrote about research underway at Ohio State University (OSU) to investigate the cause of excessive post-operative bleeding that occurred in many Greyhounds one or two days after surgery.  Evidence suggested that affected dogs formed normal blood clots, but that the clots dissolved too quickly.  Acting on a hunch from Dr. Couto, veterinarians at OSU began using a human drug called epsilon aminocaproic acid (Amicar®) to reduce the risk of bleeding or treat the problem if it occurred.

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by Betty Stephenson, DVM

Reprinted from the March/April 2014 Claymore

I graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in 1981, and our options for anesthesia were considerably more limited then than they are today. Inhalation anesthetics available were methoxyflurane and halothane with or without nitrous oxide, injectables were ketamine, xylazine, ultrashort barbiturates, and pentobarbital. While we might still use ketamine as part of a mixture for induction, it’s about the only one listed that’s still in common use in small animal practice. Most practices didn’t even have inhalants in those days. Now a small animal practice without it is in danger of being sued for malpractice if surgery is done there at all. Methoxyflurane gave way to halothane, and halothane to isoflurane as safer products became affordable for animals. Now many practices use sevoflurane, the next generation inhalant which is more quickly metabolized and excreted than its forebears. Soon newer and better drugs will replace these. And so anesthesia for Deerhounds will change with time, just as it changes for all breeds. Read more

Reprinted from the January/February 2014 Claymore.

While there haven’t been any earth-shattering discoveries this year, research into the health problems that affect Deerhounds has made some slow and steady progress on several fronts. There are also a couple of new projects. Read more

by John Dillberger, DVM

Reprinted from the September/October 2013 Claymore

Based on the results of the 2011 Deerhound Health Survey, one of the more important health problems in Deerhounds is pneumonia, which was reported for 14 (5%) of 273 males and 12 (4%) of 315 bitches. Several people reported single bouts of pneumonia, but many others said their dogs had more than one episode. For example, one male “had kennel cough after the first dog show of his 2nd and 3rd years of age that progressed to pneumonia each time.” A 1½-year-old bitch also had pneumonia that “began as kennel cough,” but she “also had frequent aspiration pneumonia due to megaesophagus.” A 2-year-old male had “chronic pneumonia from aspirated food.” A 3-year-old male was “treated twice for tandem episodes of pneumonia.” For a young bitch, “the first episode was after whelping, and she had repeated episodes as she aged.” In all, nine Deerhounds (four males and five bitches) had chronic and/or recurrent pneumonia.

Pneumonia is a serious disease in all animals, and Deerhounds are no exception. Pneumonia was the cause of death for eight Deerhounds, making it an important cause of death for our breed.

I was not surprised by the survey results. Over the past 25 years, I have had conversations with many Deerhounders whose dogs had pneumonia—sometimes more than one episode.

Recently I learned of research being done to investigate pneumonia in Irish Wolfhounds, under the joint direction of Dr. Margret Casals at the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Iris Reichler at the University of Zurich. Because of the close relationship between Wolfhounds and Deerhounds, the Wolfhound research may shed some light on pneumonia in our breed. This month I will share what I learned. Read more