"I am the Health Co-ordinator for the Northern Counties Whippet Club covering the North of England.
The following report appeared in North Eastern Whippet Society's magazine in 2011:"
Breed Health Co-ordinator Report
So, the results of the Whippet Breed Council Health Survey 2011/12 are in! Statistically the response of 263 covering 809 dogs, was very good for a survey of this kind, so very many thanks to all those who participated. The average lifespan for a whippet from this survey is now 11½ years old. I won’t cover all the findings from the survey here so a brief synopsis is detailed below. If you would like any additional detail (such as the split between dogs aged 0-9 yrs and 10+ yrs or findings from litters born), please feel free to contact me.
Caroline Osborne, Breed Council Health Co-ordinator says:
“There were not any surprises in the results, the main health issue being cardiac conditions with trauma not that far behind. It should also be noted that several of the other conditions that appear on Table 1 (e.g. neurological, orthopaedic & musculoskeletal) were linked to trauma, not surprisingly. The breakdown for cardiac conditions does not appear in the main report but it is as follows:
Of the 61 dogs (7.5% of the total number of dogs) reported to have/have had cardiac conditions, specific information was given for 56 instances of 10 conditions, broken down as follows:
Cardiac (not specified) 4
Congestive heart failure 3
Enlarged heart 1
Heart attack 2
Heart failure 2
Heart murmur 36
Mitral valve disease 2
Pulmonary valve malfunction 1
NB This is not necessarily 56 separate dogs as one dog may have/have had one or more of the conditions listed either at the same time or different times
As you will note, murmurs were by far the most common cardiac condition. However, to put this into context, from the information given by owners, the majority of those dogs with murmurs were neither on medication nor showing clinical signs and most lived to normal life expectancy. This does not mean we should become complacent but I believe the conclusion can be drawn that neither have we any real concerns with the breed’s health.”
Table 1. Reported incidence of dogs affected by health conditions
No. of dogs affected
% of all dogs affected
% of unhealthy dogs affected (n=239)
Juvenile Renal Dysplasia
I have received the following update on Juvenile Renal Dysplasia (JRD) from Jan Wood and Carol Neale:
“In the last 12 months we have not had any reports of deaths in whippets due to JRD which happily does suggest that the Canadian test, that had never been used on whippets previously, is not relevant to whippets and we thank all of the people who went to the expense of having their dogs tested in order that we could draw these conclusions.
What has been suggested is that breeders as a whole should be aware of this scare and if any whippets are sadly lost to kidney failure before they reach double figures then it would be beneficial to have an accurate diagnosis made by a vet and a written report given to the Breed Council Health Coordinator or a Breed Club Health Coordinator who will pass it on.”
Carol Neale Jan Wood”
Although the survey has been collated and results issued we need to continue to collect data as an on going issue. If anyone loses their whippet I would be grateful if you could let me know; I know it won’t be the first thing that comes to mind at the sad time when a whippet has died, but it enables us to continue to monitor the health of our breed and take appropriate action if a particular concern arises. On that happy note I will leave you to enjoy your beloved dogs.
NCWC Breed Health Co-ordinator