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Hookworms and Racing Greyhounds
By Jennifer Ng, DVM (Columbia, SC)
January 2019

In the past few years, the greyhound community has been recognizing an increasing problem with persistent hookworms. The issue was initially noticed by adoption groups as the majority of retiring greyhounds from Florida started arriving with hookworms, despite routine deworming at racing kennels,
and some were getting sick with GI signs. The stress of the transportation and transition from track to home life likely resulted in the onset of clinical signs and increased worm burden in dogs that were asymptomatic in the stable, familiar environment of the track.
Hookworms can be difficult to completely clear because of a phenomenon called larval leak. Some of the immature larva go dormant in the tissues outside the intestinal tract. Those larva can stay inactive for long periods of time, and they often don’t become active again until the number of worms in the
intestines drop. So when the dog is dewormed, those dormant larva re-emerge and re-infest the intestines, and the whole cycle starts over again. Because the hookworm life cycle takes 2-3 weeks to complete, the way to treat larval leak is to deworm every 2 weeks.
In addition to larval leak, it seems that some of the hookworms are also becoming resistant to the common dewormers. Racing greyhound breeders in Florida began to notice problems with hookworms even while deworming puppies with the standard, veterinarian-recommended products and protocols.
This suspected combination of larval leak and possible resistance can make it very difficult to eliminate hookworm infestations.

Treatment

After trying various combinations of dewormers and protocols over the past 2-3 years, I have had good results with using monthly Advantage Multi, along with a standard dewormer given in the middle of the month between doses of Advantage Multi. For the standard dewormer, I usually use Drontal Plus (or compounded equivalent), or a 5-day course of Panacur (fenbendazole) with a dose of Pyrantel pamoate given on the last day.  I add the pyrantel for added effect because it works synergistically with fenbendazole. For dogs that are asymptomatic for the hookworms, I will often just treat with monthly
Advantage Multi and only add another dewormer if the dog develops diarrhea
or other GI signs.
Even with an effective protocol, because of larval leak, it can take 6-8 months or more before the hookworm infestation can be fully eliminated. Often, even getting one or two negative fecal flotation results doesn’t mean the dog is clear. I usually recommend continuing monthly Advantage Multi until a
minimum of 2-3 negative results on fecals done several weeks apart. The IDEXX fecal antigen test may be more accurate, but it would still be prudent to continue Advantage Multi for a few more months past anegative result.
**A note on a couple other hookworm treatment protocols that have been shared and discussed on various groups. I would not recommend using Advantage Multi every 2 weeks as described in what is called the “prison protocol”. With monthly administration of Advantage Multi, the active ingredient of moxidectin reaches steady state in the bloodstream after the 3rd dose. Steady state means that there is an effective level of the medication in the blood constantly, so it provides continuous deworming activity, and there is no need to administer it more frequently. Using Advantage Multi every 2 weeks, especially for an extended period of time, will result in blood levels of moxidectin that are significantly higher than what has been proven to be safe in the product approval studies.
There are also some people who advocate the use of the horse dewormers Quest or Quest Plus, which contain moxidectin, the same active ingredient as Advantage Multi. While I understand the practical need for this when
managing large populations of dogs, such as on greyhound farms or racing kennels, I would not recommend this for pet greyhounds. There is no established oral dose of moxidectin in dogs, so we do not know what is safe and
effective for hookworms, Sticking with the approved product, Advantage Multi, is preferable.

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From OGGA Board Member, Pat Middleton:

This video is about the program OGGA is part of.   I have met the most loving and caring people through this track and the Ohio state team is the one who removed my Ashley’s leg and Pam who runs the adoption kennel (GPA Wheeling Kennel) at the track nursed her back to health for me.

I still take Ashley back to visit and she still is happy to see Pam and the girls at the track.   There are so many recently-retired greyhounds ready for adoption.  So please friends if you want a loving and loyal companion who doesn’t require much grooming and no more care than any other dog ADOPT A GREYHOUND. You will never be sorry!

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GALT, Inc.–3 Amigos

 

  4 Legs 4 Hounds Program is a partnership between Wheeling Island Racetrack & Kennels and the Ohio State Veterinary School Greyhound Wellness Program to rehabilitate greyhounds that suffer career ending leg fractures.

 

 

One of the most common racing injuries that will usually end the career of a racer is the broken hock. Usually the right back leg is the most vulnerable due to the stress on the first turn.

 

This partnership is two-fold:

 

First, to improve the health status of racing greyhounds through an investigative study.

Secondly, to significantly decrease or eliminate euthanasia due to catastrophic fractures. 

Wheeling Island Racetrack pays for all medical bills to repair the broken legs, then the greyhounds  become a ward of  Greyhound Pets of America (GPA).  From there the greyhounds go to adoption organizations which find adoptive homes for them to enjoy their retirement in.

 

 

 

The Ohio State Greyhound Development Fund is constantly looking for additional sources of funding for this project.  If you wish to make a donation, please visit OSU Greyhound Health & Wellness website.

Or send a check to The Greyhound Health and Wellness Program, 6012 Vernon L. Tharp St., Columbus, OH 43210.

For more information  “Celebrating Greyhounds” magazine Spring 2012 issue offers an in depth article on the program.

 

 

 

 

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      Many of OGGA’s greyhounds are brought from the West Virgina tracks.  The information in the article below  is wonderful news to all of us at OGGA that have an interest in racing greyhounds health.

 

 

It’s been a busy summer at Wheeling with some ground-breaking off-track developments.

Wheeling Island Racetrack and The Ohio State University have formed a joint venture targeting the wellness of greyhounds.

The partnership is two-fold – first to improve the health status of racing greyhounds through an investigative study, and secondly to significantly decrease or eliminate euthanasia due to catastrophic the program from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, Dr. Lori L. Bohenko, West Virginia Racing Commission state veterinarian, played a major role in launching the undertaking at the Wheeling racetrack.

CLICK HERE to continue reading the entire article.

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The Stark County’s Canton Rep  recently did an article on the Dairyland Greyhound Rescue efforts.  To access the article  please click on the below link:

As-dog-racing-drops-greyhound-adoption-need-rises

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OGGA will be receiving some of the Dairyland greyhounds within the next few days.  After they get their medical exams, bathed and settled into their foster homes we will be posting their pictures.  So keep an eye on this site to see our “new babies” up for adoption.

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Dairyland Racetrack in Kenosha Wisconsin will no longer have live greyhound racing after December 31, 2009.  This means that hundreds of ex-racing greyhounds will be in need of fostering until rescue organizations such as OGGA can find them forever homes.

How can you help? If you’ve been thinking about adopting a retired racing greyhound, but just haven’t moved forward – now is the time to take action and bring one of these special dogs home. If you know anyone who might be able to adopt a dog, help us spread the word about what great pets greyhounds are.

If you’d like to help, have a donation, or have questions about adoption, please leave a comment after the this post or contact valerie@myogga.org.

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