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

Just a reminder for everyone: It is a good idea to check pill bottles when a prescription is filled to make sure the dosage matches your vet’s actual prescription. Over the past year, there have been three incidents reported where the dosage was incorrect on the bottles, and the owners, who followed the directions on the bottles, under-dosed their dogs. This led to discomfort for one dog, extensive hospitalization in a specialty hospital for the second, and death for the third. 

Please make sure that the dosing on the pill bottle matches its prescription and the discharge instructions, and if you have any questions, contact your vet immediately.  

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

by Dr. John E. Dillberger

Reprinted from The Claymore


Ever since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States has devoted a lot of time and effort to preparing for future emergencies. Those of us with dogs should also spend a little time now and then preparing for emergencies. This was brought home to me recently by an “adventure” with my own Deerhounds. Thankfully, everything turned out all right, but the episode reminded me how easy it is to grow complacent. I share it with you as an introduction to the subject of being prepared.

My Story

One winter afternoon, my wife and I were walking our two hounds on the farm—or more accurately, on the 40-acre tract of wooded hills and pasture on the lower part of the farm that we fenced off last year as a safe place for them to run and explore. The fence is heavy-gauge, 4-foot high, woven wire, which allows deer to jump in and out and has no sharp points to snag a dog. There are four gates, and all are chained and locked so that no one can accidentally leave them open for a dog to escape.  Read more