Health awareness and preventive health care of your Whippet athlete
are important for several reasons: l) to avoid or discover early an
injury, illness or condition and spare your Whippet unnecessary discomfort
and pain, 2) to save you money in veterinary costs, and 3) to keep
your Whippet at it's competitive best. It is in your dog's best interest
to avoid or catch a problem before it progresses.
awareness and preventive health care involves many aspects. Most important
are: timely vaccinations, regular fecal and blood checks, a quality,
well balanced diet, regular grooming, regular exercise, a routine
examination of the entire dog and just observing your dog. Most dog
owners provide their Whippets with the basic items mentioned above.
However, if you want to maintain your athlete, it is absolutely necessary
to closely observe and examine your Whippet on a regular basis, and
in particular, after it races.
thorough weekly examination of your dog is a wise investment of your
time. As you examine your dog, look for any lumps, bruises, cuts,
abnormal skin appearance, hot or cold areas or anything unusual. Begin
with the head, checking eyes, teeth, gums and breath. Teeth should
be clean and white, gums pink and breath not foul. Look in the ears,
making sure there is no debris or obvious accumulation of wax. Look
down the shoulders and front legs. Examine both sides of the body
from above. Look at the topline, and follow to the end of the tail.
Then look at each hind leg from the side, and behind. Check the coat
carefully, looking for fleas and ticks. Be sure to examine your Whippet's
underside, brisket, groin, legs and feet. Pay particular attention
to the feet, and examine closely the base of the nails, between toes,
and pads. Feet are a likely area for injury in an active dog. Don't
let your dog's nails get too long as long nails may cause your dog
to walk in an abnormal manner, predisposing it to problems.
addition to a regular physical examination, observe your Whippet when
it is relaxed and standing still as well as just walking around. When
standing, your Whippet should distribute it's weight evenly between
the four legs and feet. If it appears one leg is being favored, look
closely and do a more thorough exam. Look at the feet and toes for
anything unusual. Another thing to watch for is the dog's topline,
does it appear relaxed and normal or drawn up. When the Whippet walks,
is the stride smooth, symmetrical and balanced? It should be in a
normal and healthy dog. Look for signs of limping or a stilted gait
as a sign to look more closely and do a more thorough exam. If some
part looks unusual and you are not sure, compare it to the other side
to check for similarity. Remember, if your Whippet is limping, restrict
it to leash walking and cage rest until it can be examined by a veterinarian.
of the best preventive measures is to know your Whippet, its personality
and habits. It then becomes easier to determine if it is "not
right". Personality changes such as depression, lethargy or crabbiness
are ques to an owner to watch closely for signs of illness or injury.
brushing with a rubber or hair mitt is good for coat condition, as
well as the dog's feeling of well?being. The coat should be shiny
and smooth. A dull dry coat indicates an unhealthy condition. During
a brushing, feel for any unusual lumps, bumps or hot or cold areas.
If you find any of these, you need to look more closely.
exercise in the form of walking or frolicking in a secure yard is
very important to muscle tone and condition. A Whippet in good condition
is going to be happy and be much less likely to injure itself during
health awareness and preventive health care are wise investments that
will provide payback to you and your Whippet many times over.