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

Dr. Guillermo Couto, who was spearheading the fibrinolysis research at Ohio State University, has retired, and no one there is continuing this research. Right now, we only suspect that some Deerhounds with bleeding issues have the same problem as Greyhounds, which is suspected to be fibrinolysis. To help us decide what the best next step would be, we thought we would collect some anecdotal information that will help us to determine whether aminocaproic acid helps Deerhounds with post-operative bleeding as it does Greyhounds.

If you have a dog that experiences post-surgical bleeding and the administration of aminocaproic acid stops the bleeding, we would be very interested to hear about that. If you administered aminocaproic acid during a bleeding episode and your dog did not stop bleeding, or your dog starts to bleed even though you were giving your dog aminocaproic acid prophylactically, we would be interested to hear about those experiences, too. As always, your information will be kept confidential. For more information on using aminocaproic acid for post-operative bleeding, go to http://sdcahealth.wordpress.com/health-issues/bleeding-problems/fibrinolysis/.

Please send this information to John Dillberger at P.O. Box 2118, Nashville, IN 47448-2118; (812) 988-6175; or at John “at” Greymorn.com. Please help us to determine whether aminocaproic acid works or not so we know the best next steps to take concerning this problem.

 

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 John Dillberger, DVM

Reprinted from the May/June 2013 Claymore.

At the 2012 National Specialty, researchers from The Ohio State University (OSU) collected blood samples from 96 normal, healthy Deerhounds. They analyzed the samples to measure various parameters in order to establish what are called “reference intervals” (RIs). RIs provide a range of normal results for a particular blood test.

The OSU group will publish this work in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Small Animal Practice. I my column this month, I summarize the OSU paper. I suggest that you keep a copy of the column for your own reference and also give a copy to your veterinarian. Read more

by John Dillberger, DVM

Reprinted from the November/December 2008 Claymore

Medicines are wonderful things—miracles, really, that conquer illness or let us live with it on terms we can accept. Dogs and people both have benefited from the discovery and development of new medicines in the 20th century. We take these medicines for granted most of the time; specifically, we take for granted that they will be safe and effective if we use them as prescribed or as the package label instructs. Have you ever thought about why that is so? This month I want to explore that subject.

History in a Nutshell

Today’s abundance of medicines can be traced to breakthroughs in chemistry made in the 18th and 19th centuries. Not that there weren’t medicines before then. There always have been, and always will be, medicines derived from plants and animals, such as willow bark and opium for pain. Chemistry’s contribution was to extract the pain-relieving substances in willow bark and poppy sap, deduce their molecular structures, and figure out how to make them in a laboratory and then in factories. Suddenly, we could have an endless supply of aspirin or morphine instead of being limited to what we could get from willow trees or poppies.

But that was just the beginning. Once we had the blueprint for a medical molecule, we could tweak its structure in a hundred different ways to see if we could come up with an even better version—one with longer-lasting activity, or that was stronger, or non-addictive, or more stable. This is the history of the medicines that fill today’s pharmacy shelves. And the process is still going on today in pharmaceutical companies and university research labs around the world. Read more

by John Dillberger, DVM

Reprinted from the November/December 2004 Claymore

Please note: Since this article was published in 2004, it is now recommended that every Deerhound be screened for a liver shunt with a bile acid test. This test should ideally be conducted by breeders before puppies go to their new homes. Many labs do bile-acid testing; for more information on liver shunts and testing, go here.

Some time ago, a Deerhound owner and breeder sent me a letter asking that I devote a column to liver shunts. One of her pups had a liver shunt, and she hoped I could discuss not only the nature of disorder but also its symptoms, how to test for it, and what treatment was available. As it happens, her problem is not an isolated one in our breed.

In 1994, I reprinted a paper on liver shunts in Deerhounds by Dutch veterinarian Dr. H.P. Meyer. He reported that of 125 Dutch Deerhounds screened for liver shunt, 6 (approximately 5%) were found to have the problem. Dr. Meyer also wrote that liver shunts were most probably an inherited disorder.

This month I’ll revisit the subject of liver shunts to include what has been learned in the last decade. Read more

by John Dillberger, DVM

Reprinted from the September/October 2010 Claymore

I have not written about diarrhea before now because, frankly, the subject is too large and complicated to tackle in a monthly column. That is partly because diarrhea is not a disease in itself, but a symptom of disease. The list of diseases that can have diarrhea as part of the picture would itself fill many pages of this magazine.

Given the plethora of causes for diarrhea, where should an owner or veterinarian begin when presented with a dog having diarrhea? Intuitively, the best chance of ending an episode of diarrhea is to identify the underlying disease and treat it. For that reason, diagnostic tests are often part of the initial response to diarrhea. But while diagnostic tests are often helpful, one can also treat diarrhea directly, without knowing the cause. How a dog responds to treatment can provide a valuable clue to the cause of the diarrhea. This month’s column deals with an example of this approach. Read more

A compendium of Claymore Health and Genetics columns on two possible causes of “Deerhound Neck.”

Here is another article on Deerhound Neck that was posted on July 11, 2016.

Some Deerhounds can develop mild-to-severe neck pain that isn’t apparently related to injury. Causes can range from something simple, such as the dog habitually sleeping with its head hanging off furniture or thick dog beds, to something more serious. John Dillberger, DVM, delved into two possible causes—Steroid-Responsive Meningitis-Arteritis and Cervical Vertebral Facet Joint Arthrosis—in three separate articles in his Health and Genetics column in The Claymore,  all of which are reprinted here.

Read more