GREYHOUNDS AUSTRALASIA (GA) members in conjunction with the Australian Greyhound Veterinary Association (AGVA) have been investigating a condition in the racing greyhound which has been labelled “Post Race Distress Syndrome”, commonly referred to in the industry as “thumps”.
The AGVA have become increasingly concerned regarding the occurrence of this condition which refers to a breathing difficulty with the greyhound, and is characterized by a rapid irregular breathing almost resembling a “hiccup”. The affected greyhound will be distressed, stagger, and sometimes collapse with general body muscle spasms. The heart rate is very rapid and a “jugular pulse” will often be seen in the neck between the ear and chest on each side. The cause of the condition is not fully understood but factors such as hot weather, dehydration, dogs racing too often or over distances they are not used to, and excited prior to racing or trialing are considered potential issues.
AGVA President, Dr Chris Doyle has been investigating this condition for some time and through the auspices of the AGVA recommended that GA commission research into the condition.
The GA Board did request statistical data on occurrence of this condition from the GA membership base and it was discovered that “Post Race Distress Syndrome” does exist in all States and Territories, and in New Zealand.
The AGVA have provided GA with a research proposal in regard to this matter which was proposed to be undertaken by Murdoch University as part of a PhD for a veterinarian student interested in greyhound medicine.
The GA Board after considering all of the information before them RESOLVED that it would fund the research by Murdoch University under the guidance of the AGVA in an attempt to understand what is causing “Post Race Distress Syndrome” in the greyhound and identify how it can be managed.
The GA Chairman, Mr Russell Ware, stated that: “As it is now clear that this syndrome is occurring in all GA covered jurisdictions, a national (including New Zealand) approach is desirable and appropriate.”
Dr Chris Doyle, AGVA President, said: “After several years of investigation it is time that this condition is fully understood so we as practising veterinarians can manage the condition.”
“The decision of GA is to finally find out what is causing this condition and indeed what is physically going on instead of regarding it as a simple synchronous diaphragmatic spasm.”
“Unfortunately in some circles it is being dismissed as a normal greyhound condition and treated as such routinely at the track.”
“In reference to the equine situation, greyhounds have different metabolism to horses and this post race distress may not necessarily be treated the same as for horses.”
“On behalf of the AGVA membership base we thank Greyhounds Australasia for their financial contribution towards this project.”
The project is expected to begin officially in late 2010 and is forecast to take between 12 to 18 months to finalize.