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