autumnmuse

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Hello! I am seriously considering becoming a veterinarian and I freely admit to being a total noob at the moment. However I am trying to learn!

My question is this: is there such a thing as a specialist veterinarian who works mostly with just greyhounds? I know that greyhound racing is a huge business and there are a lot of adoption agencies for retired racers. I also know that greyhounds have special health considerations that are different from other dog breeds. So I imagine that there are vets who specialize in the breed. But how do I become one? Do I have to take different/additional courses beyond the DVM? I would also be interested in the research aspect of the breed instead of/or in addition to clinical work.

Are there particular vet schools that would be better for this specialty than others? I live in CO and hope to attend CSU but am open to other schools if necessary.

If you don't know the answer to my question, can you point me in the direction of how I could research it? Thanks so much!
 

HopefulAg

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If there's a market for it, then there's likely a specialty. So I'd dare say yes, with greyhound racing and what not.

But the only thing I know beyond that is they have degranulated eosinophils.
 

Groominator

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Yes! sighthounds, not just greyhounds but all sighthounds tend to be a bit different and have quirks that other types of dogs don't have. I'm an italian greyhound owner myself.

The primary concern is anasthesia sensitivity with a particular drug that is favored to others. Another is heart issues - due to their deep chests sighthounds tend to have an echo and are often misdiagnosed for murmurs. Bloat is a problem seen in the larger hounds. Another issue is thin skin, and teeny cuts that require sutures. Cuts that would not bother most dogs can be pretty severe on paper-thin sighthound skin. Teeth are a huge concern for Italian Greyhounds in particular (not sure about bigger hounds) because they have such tight lips and dry mouths, and are extremely prone to tooth issues unless the owners brush regularly.

When people own sighthounds, they usually prefer to go to a vet with sighthound experience and many will see vets based on recommendations particularly from other sighthound owners.

I don't know if there is any sighthound-particular training in vet school. I assume you'd have to become a sighthound "specialist" by experience. Treating, ownership, rescue, showing, etc. I don't particularly support greyhound racing, but they deserve treatment as much as (or even more due to their physical and mental stress) as any other dogs. You could also associate with greyhound rescue to get more experience with the dogs.
 
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Rebeki

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FYI: I used to work at a greyhound track and there was a vet who worked for the state and was a sort of unbiased supervisor on the health of the racing greyhounds and did the drug testing. The kennels also would see him occasionally for injuries. The vet worked part-time (possible at larger tracks there would be a full-time vet?) and didn't have any extra training. I would think that the extra knowledge needed would be something that you would have to gain on your own through your own research/experience.
 

twelvetigers

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I would be concerned that a vet working in that field would have to work with tracks and not with rescues in order for there to be any sort of profit. Like, working on the side with rescue hounds would be great, but it would possibly have to be volunteer work. If you worked the tracks, you'd see treatment that you may not agree with, if you even argee with the sport itself in the first place.

Just a concern.
 

Groominator

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I would be concerned that a vet working in that field would have to work with tracks and not with rescues in order for there to be any sort of profit. Like, working on the side with rescue hounds would be great, but it would possibly have to be volunteer work. If you worked the tracks, you'd see treatment that you may not agree with, if you even argee with the sport itself in the first place.

Just a concern.

Essentially I'm suggesting working with a rescue to gain experience with the breed and with sighthounds in general. To get a good handle on the problems that are found in the breed. You can't really flout a specialty within the area if you have no training and no more experience in a field than anyone else.

but yeah i agree, i wouldn't expect much money to come in from the rescue either. But then one does not have to be greyhound only. One can still be a general small animal vet who just happens to see a lot of greyhound clients. And if that's the path the OP would consider, affiliating with a rescue might not be so bad at all.

I would also assume that being affiliated with the racetracks would be an insider thing. I don't actually know, but i have a feeling that such would be the case. That they would not just offer any vet the job. In the sense that the criteria might not be a vet that specializes in sighthounds, but a vet that knows someone that would hook them up. /conspiracy
 

cuitlamiztli

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This is what I've heard from one of the vets I work with, Dr. J, who is a former racetrack vet:

It's a lot of sitting around. You don't really do much beyond stabilize injuries--sometimes you splint, sometimes you don't--and refer the dog's owner/trainer to their veterinarian of choice. To quote him, "you pretty much get paid to sit there, watch TV, and maybe split something a few times a day."

Dr. J is now one of the vets who receives the injured greyhounds; he also sees them for non-racing illness or injuries. I don't know the originating circumstances, but his relationship with the kennels we see dogs from is long-standing. Common injuries are broken bones, dislocated joints, and/or ruptured tendons... the injury I've seen the most is rupture of the common calcaneal tendon (or any of its components), which is considered career-ending because treatment involves surgical repair of the tendon and fusion of the joint. The majority of the dogs that we see straight from the track typically have such career-ending injuries and are euthanized... Illnesses or non-career-ending injuries are almost always treated.

So, you'd probably end up doing more if you're affiliated with a greyhound rescue than with a racetrack.

But how to become a 'greyhound specialist'? Attach yourself to a vet who sees a lot of greyhounds and acquire a working knowledge of their medical quirks and care. Continue to expand on that once you've received your DVM. Work at a track... all of them may not work like the one here does. Affiliate yourself with rescues. In other words, impress the clients you see that have greyhounds, and they'll tell other greyhound owners that you know what you're doing. You may be surprised at how much business word-of-mouth generates.
 

Bill59

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In North America, the term specialist is reserved for individuals who have become board-certified in an AVMA recognized specialty. And there is no AVMA recognized specialty in greyhound medicine.

A veterinarian can restrict their practice to greyhounds, just like you can restrict your practice to cats, racehorses, or any other area you want. But that doesn't mean you are a specialist nor can you advertise as such.
 

autumnmuse

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Thank you for your replies; very informative. I don't want to limit myself right out the gate to just one breed or even one species; I plan to learn as much as possible about as many animals as I can. It's just that I have a deep love for sighthounds, especially greyhounds, and I think I would find a lot of joy in working with them on a daily basis.

Apparently there is a program at OSU that is specifically geared to greyhounds; I've sent them an email but does anyone here attend OSU? Maybe I could get some more info. If it's a big program I would probably consider applying to OSU in addition to my home state because of it.
 

ri23

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Thank you for your replies; very informative. I don't want to limit myself right out the gate to just one breed or even one species; I plan to learn as much as possible about as many animals as I can. It's just that I have a deep love for sighthounds, especially greyhounds, and I think I would find a lot of joy in working with them on a daily basis.

Apparently there is a program at OSU that is specifically geared to greyhounds; I've sent them an email but does anyone here attend OSU? Maybe I could get some more info. If it's a big program I would probably consider applying to OSU in addition to my home state because of it.

Yes, OSU has a greyhound program. It is not intended to gear one's whole practice towards greyhounds, but Dr. Couto does extensive greyhound work. One of the surgeries performed in 3rd/4th year is a greyhound spay/neuter done on an ex-racing dog.

If you are interested in greyhound medicine, Dr. Couto (his specialty is oncology) does tons of greyhound stuff. He is extremely knowledgable on greyhounds and is probably looked to as an authority on the subject.
 

starlene45

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Hey There,

I'm not sure if you are interested in considering overseas vet schools, but I recently discovered that University College, Dublin, Ireland (now an AVMA accredited school I believe...) has a program specifically for canine sports medicine. The focus on this program is greyhound racing.

I can't remember the details (I think it might be a program you do *after* you get your DVM, but I'm not sure), but there is info about it on their website:

www.ucd.ie/vetmed/


Good luck!!
 

laurafinn

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A fair number of breeders and rescuers seem to hold firm to the idea that their breed is so unique that a mere GP vet could not possibly understand their needs. Is there a grain of truth to this? Maybe, maybe not. But it's not unknown to have absolutely wrongheaded info out there.

There are breed differences, and I expect the major ones are taught in vet school. We learn about sighthounds and drugs that have fat depots, for instance. We learn about greyhound racing vernacular in anatomy. At least at my school, we use a fair number of greyhounds as anatomy dogs.

Similarly, we learn about Bull Terriers and lethal acrodermatitis, collie types and ivermectin, Shar-peis and entropion, etc.

You can certainly cultivate your clientele from owners of a certain breed, and develop a good reputation without any advanced training outside extensive, everyday experience.
 
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