How are Greyhounds’ medical needs different than other dog breeds?
Because of their low percentage of body fat, barbiturate anesthetics (pentobarbital, et.) should be used with caution since they cannot re-distribute them from their liver to their body fat like other breeds. At our clinic, we chose not to use them at all and instead use propofol as an induction agent for intubation (the drug given by IV to knock the dogs out and place an endotracheal tube to maintain them on oxygen and isoflurane gas anesthesia). Prior to that, we used a combination of ketamine and diazepam.
At our clinic, we have only prescribed Frontline Plus flea and tick medication for quite a while. We feel it’s far safer than the traditional pyrethrins/permethrins, not only for the animal but for humans, especially children, around the dog or cat.
Lab Work
As far as lab values, Greyhounds have significantly higher packed cell volumes (PCV) or hematocrit. This means they essentially have more red blood cells than other breeds. This is what makes them excellent blood donors, as well as racers (they basically have more oxygen carrying capacity). EPO or erythropoeitin used in blood doping in professional cycling causes the body to manufacture more red blood cells, so riders have the ability to carry more oxygen than their competitors.