HEALTH: Anesthesia & Medicine
The dangers of Anesthesia and Medicines to your greyhound
Greyhound adopters need to be very careful with what medicines they give their greyhounds and in some cases what their veterinarians prescribe. The reason is that greyhounds have a low percentage of body fat and their livers metabolize drugs slower than other dogs. This causes greyhounds to recover slower from drugs. They are also susceptible to a drug overdose. In the early days of greyhound adoption, greyhounds were dying during surgery due to the use of barbiturates. Times have changed as to what anesthesia is commonly available but sedating a greyhound can still be a very tricky proposition. A good rule of thumb is never sedate a greyhound unless it is ABSOLUTELY necessary. And if it is necessary only allow a VERY greyhound savvy vet to do it.
We get calls about vets wanting to sedate a greyhound to x-ray them or put in a few stitches or remove corns. In general, sedation for these type services is not necessary and if the vet insists you should find a different vet. Most greyhound adopters don’t want their greyhound sedated for a routine dental cleaning but if their teeth have not been cared for then that may be a necessity. If you are going to get your greyhound a sedated dental do so ONLY at a very greyhound experienced veterinarian or vet dentist office. To learn more about keeping your greyhound’s teeth clean to avoid sedated dentals read our article on Greyhound teeth.
(Link to greyhound teeth)
Greyhounds are also sensitive to medicines that other dogs take in stride. You have to be very careful with what you give them and the dosage. A good rule of thumb is don’t be the first person to try a new medicine and that goes for flea and tick products. Research everything before you use it. Check with other greyhound adopters to see if their greys have had bad reactions. There are some good articles on the topics of anesthesia and medicines. Some are:
Greyhound Health What Every Vet Should Know written by National Greyhound Adoption Program in 2010. This article includes information on Anesthesia & drug sensitivity. See https://www.ngap.org/greyhound-health-what-vet-should-know-y434.html
Another is an article on Greyhound Anesthesia by Dr. Suzanne Stack and included from her GreytHealth website.
A primer on Pain meds for greyhounds also by Dr. Suzanne Stack .