Italian Greyhound Health

This is not a comprehensive list of every disease ever diagnosed in the IG breed but a summary of issues that most concern pet owners. Please research them, including the cost of treatment. Responsible & knowledgeable breeders are able to provide more detailed information about issues affecting their individual bloodlines and factors that might affect an individual litter.

Teeth: Many Italian greyhounds are prone to teeth and gum disease – especially from middle age onwards. IGs benefit from gentle daily brushing with veterinary toothpaste and a soft infant or pet brush. It’s common for an IG to also need annual veterinary dental cleanings. Veterinary advice should also be sought for tooth care and safe chew items. Good tooth care by the owner, quality food and good veterinary care, will enhance tooth longevity, gum health and also the overall well being of the IG.

Fractures: Most IGs are daredevils and given their high activity level, speed and love of climbing and jumping off household furniture (or down stairwells), it is amazing how sturdy they are. However, they are a small breed and mishaps can occur. Most fracture accidents occur when the IG is young, growing, and still learning the house rules. Especially during that time, it is important to provide the dog with a safe environment to exercise, train and relax in. The common fracture sites are toes, pasterns, front legs and tails. Some injuries can be set, casted and heal easily. Unfortunately, sometimes a front leg will actually snap cleanly in two, and these breaks need to be surgically repaired. Although the majority of IGs do not break like this – it is very traumatic on owner and dog and also expensive. New owners need to be sure they can handle this aspect of the breed.

Colour dilution alopecia (CDA): Rarely, dilute colours such as some blue and fawns, can appear normally furred as puppies but as the mature adult coat grows in, it is either very sparse or, not present at all in the coloured areas (white areas are not affected by this genetic condition). Fortunately, CDA is a cosmetic condition for our breed, requires no treatment and is not known to affect quality of life.

A few other conditions to research: The following conditions are not common in Canadian IGs, but new owners should still be familiar with them. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA- usually late onset and gradually leads to blindness) and patella luxation (dislocating kneecaps) can occur. There is no treatment for PRA. However, sometimes an IG with severe luxation needs expensive surgical repair on each knee. Epilepsy can also rarely occur. Most IGs if epileptic get late onset mild epilepsy but sometimes an individual will be more severely affected.