Site Search

Latest News - Important advice - serious respiratory disease in racing greyhounds


GBGB, through the Veterinary Sub-committee, has been made aware of an uncharacteristic rise in the incidence of a serious respiratory disease in racing greyhounds.

A small number of these cases have resulted in greyhounds requiring hospitalisation for emergency treatment at veterinary surgeries. Of these, a small number of greyhounds have died as a result of this disease.  While this is not an epidemic and is highly unlikely to become one, trainers and track vets are advised to read the following advice relating to a potentially serious condition.

Advice should be sought for urgent cases from a local vet, or for reporting and specific advice via the 24-hour GBGB Helpline on 0207 421 3779. Information for trainers and veterinary surgeons on diseases, biosecurity and disinfection is available here

Simon Gower, GBGB Veterinary Director said:

“There are two syndromes of canine respiratory disease; one of simple upper respiratory infection caused by viruses typically called ‘Kennel Cough’, and one of lower respiratory tract infection caused by bacteria.

“Dogs with mild cough symptoms can develop a more serious acute bacterial pneumonia which in very few cases can be fatal.

“Normally fit, healthy dogs will experience 1-2 days ‘off-colour’ with occasional coughing. These rarely require treatment.

“Secondary bacterial infection typically produces a nasal discharge, a moist cough, high temperature and general depression. These cases require prompt veterinary treatment.

“Severe cases typical of haemorrhagic pneumonia result in obvious lethargy or collapse of the greyhound, with rapid shallow breathing or panting, sometimes with a bloody nasal discharge. The dog will also have a temperature (fever) above 39 C (103 F). Note that ill greyhounds with this disease tend NOT to cough, and may or may not have had Kennel Cough beforehand. These are medical emergencies and will die without immediate veterinary care involving intravenous fluids and intravenous antibiotics.

“Greyhounds showing a fever with panting are medical emergencies and must receive veterinary attention immediately. Delay can be fatal.”

The following points list the main actions:

•    Inform the local stipendiary steward at the earliest opportunity who will assist with reporting the disease.
•    Isolate all in-contacts for a minimum 7 days.
•    Ensure good biosecurity, i.e. hygiene & disinfection.
•    Sick or coughing or in-contact greyhounds within the affected kennel should be isolated at that kennel. Isolation is a building with no contact with healthy greyhounds.
•    Extra vigilance is required at tracks where possible contact has occurred.
•    As a general rule, all new entrants to a kennel should be quarantined for a minimum of seven days and not presented at a race track, nor worked hard, during this time.
•    Any greyhound that is presented for racing as off-colour and/or coughing repeatedly should be examined away from the other greyhounds and any greyhound suspected to be suffering from contagious respiratory disease must be removed from the paddock without delay, and sent home.
•    If there are other greyhounds from the same kennel that give cause for concern, then all runners from that trainer's kennel should be withdrawn and sent home.
•    If severe respiratory disease becomes
apparent at a track, greyhound to go to veterinary practice.