Greyhounds under general veterinary care in the UK during 2016: Demography and common disorders

Dan O'Neill, Nicola Rooney, Callum Brock , David Church, Dave C. Brodbelt, Camilla Pegram

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BackgroundThe greyhound is a sighthound known for its speed and agility. Greyhounds were selectively bred as functional racing animals but increasingly are kept as pets in the UK, often after their racing careers. The VetCompass™ Programme collates de-identified clinical data from primary-care veterinary practices in the UK for epidemiological research. Using VetCompass™ clinical data, this study aimed to characterise the demography, mortality and common disorders of the general population of pet greyhounds under veterinary care in the UK.
ResultsGreyhounds comprised 5,419/ 905,544 (0.60%) dogs under veterinary care during 2016 from 626 clinics. Mean adult bodyweight was 29.7 kg (standard deviation [SD] 4.5kg). Males (32.3kg, SD 4.1kg) were heavier than females (27.2 kg, SD 3.3kg) (P < 0.001). Mean age was 7.6 years (SD 3.4). The most common colours were black (39.2%), black and white (20.8%), brindle (12.0%). Based on 474 deaths, median longevity was 11.4 years (range 0.2-16.5). Females (11.8 years) outlived males (11.2 years) (P = 0.002). The most common grouped causes of death were neoplasia (21.5%, 95% CI: 17.4 – 26.0), collapse (14.3%, 95% CI: 10.9 – 18.2) and musculoskeletal disorder (7.8%, 95% CI: 5.3 – 11.0). Based on a random subset of 2,715/5,419 (50.1%) greyhounds, 77.5% had >1 disorder recorded during 2016. The most prevalent specific disorders were periodontal disease (39.0%, 95% CI: 37.2 – 40.9), overgrown nails (11.1%, 95% CI 10.0 – 12.4), wound (6.2%, 95% CI: 5.3 – 7.1), osteoarthritis (4.6%, 95% CI: 3.8 – 5.4) and claw injury (4.2%, 95% CI: 3.4 – 5.0).
ConclusionsThese findings highlight the greyhound as a relatively common pet dog breed in the UK, accounting for 0.6% of dogs under primary veterinary care. Dental disease, trauma and osteoarthritis were identified as common health issues within the breed. Knowledge of common disorders can help greyhound breeders and regulators to prioritise breeding, rearing and racing management to mitigate some of the most prevalent issues. Greyhound rehoming organizations can also better inform adopters about prophylactic care.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalCanine Genetics and Epidemiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2019


  • VetCompass
  • EPR
  • purebred
  • racing
  • electronic patient record
  • veterinary
  • pedigree
  • epidemiology
  • breed
  • dog
  • primary-care

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