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Health of the Irish Wolfhound

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On Saturday 11th December 2004 the inaugural meeting of the new Irish Wolfhound Health & Welfare Group took place. This new group has representatives from the Irish Wolfhound Club, Irish Wolfhound Society, Irish Wolfhound Club of Northern Ireland and the Irish Wolfhound Club of Ireland.
• Chairman: Peter Pask
• Secretary: Tim Finney
• Dagmar Kenis-Pordham, Jean Malley, Peter Pask, Chris & Janice Taylorson representing the Irish Wolfhound Club;
• Alex Bennett, Miranda Brace and Rebecca Peek representing the Irish Wolfhound Society;
• Tim and Marion Finney representing the Irish Wolfhound Club of Northern Ireland;
• Elizabeth Hanley representing the Irish Wolfhound Club of Ireland.

It is hoped the initial remit of this new group will be to collect health and research information from Clubs and research bodies both in UK and abroad and share this info with members of all clubs and other interested parties:
- Perhaps to initiate action where we feel it is required for the health and welfare of our breed.
- To share information with other breed clubs with similar health or welfare problems.
- To generally improve our knowledge which should improve the health and welfare of our breed.

Any replies please to Tim Finney.
Thank you for reading this message.

Jean Malley, Committee Member


Jan 2008
The main objectives are:

- clear the transmission mode of pathology by analyzing pedigrees,
- collect DNA samples of dogs (affected and not) in order to research the gene(s) and mutation(s) responsible for DCM,
- develop a genetic test for diagnosis if possible. This test would be useful for the breeders to detect DCM earlier and help them in their selection policy.

To carry out this research, all information on the genealogy and the clinical status of the dogs would be useful (copy of cardiac examination and pedigree). Blood samples will be necessary on both affected and healthy dogs.

In 2006, ANTAGENE and its collaborators began to develop a research program on DCM of Irish Wolfhound. Since 2008, this program has been included in a wide European project (LUPA). Thanks to this project, Dog profit of high technological platform and resources to discover genetic causes of many inherited disorders. LUPA gathers efforts of European researchers (22 teams in 11 countries) and gives a real opportunity to progress in the understanding of the genetic cause of the disease.

Please read the detailed information about the project:

2008_the canine dilated cardiomyopathy


Osteosarcoma is the most common bone cancer of dogs and the most common cause of death in Irish Wolfhounds. A study at the Animal Health Trust aims to identify the genetic defects that increase the risk of Irish Wolfhounds developing osteosarcoma. If successful, this would help breeders to reduce the number of dogs developing these tumours and may lead to new treatments for affected dogs. You can help the study by submitting a sample from your dog. If you would like to help, please read the detailed information about the study.

AHT - Irish Wolfhound Osteosarcoma
Cheek Swab Kit Request Form


Everyone of us has either lost a wolfhound to bone cancer or wept with a friend who was struck by this strategy. The progress of science has made it possible now to find defective gene(s) responsible for bone cancer in our wolfhounds. When the gene(s) is identified it will allow us to screen wolfhounds before breeding and therefore significantly decrease numbers of hounds succumbing to this terrible, incurable disease. Not only that ? the results of such research project may help in treatment of human bone cancer as there are appear to be large similarities in the dog and human osteosarcoma, particularly the kind that affects children.

Here is a chance for all of us to contribute to improvement of health of our wonderful hounds through aiding research regarding bone cancer. A large, international project including experienced scientists from among others USA and Sweden has been launched. The project already has sufficient funding and equipment and the only element missing for success is enough samples from our hounds. We are indeed lucky that one of the best research teams in genetics wants to devote time and huge resources to our hounds!

What is needed are blood samples from sick hounds affected with bone cancer as well as healthy, old hounds whose DNA will be used for comparison. It is very easy to take a small blood sample and all information regarding your hound and the results will be treated strictly confidential.

Dog genome project

Ellen Skancke (N)
Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences
Norwegian College of Veterinary Medicine

Mrs Elizabeth Murphy (IRL)

Dr Serena Brownlie (UK)

Dr Regine Vandamme (B)

Dr A. Vollmar (D)

Prof. O. Distl (D)

Genetic Conclusions of DCM

Jane Barr with eight of the Grevel hounds
This picture appeared in Hutchinson's Dog Encyclopaedia, Part 27 in the mid-1930s

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