The Irish Wolfhound Foundation

IWF Health Research Studies

The Goal of the Health Research Committee

To identify the types and prevalence of health problems affecting the Irish Wolfhound, and to initiate, support and provide funding for study and research projects which address them.

To produce, publish, and distribute to IW owners and veterinary health care providers educational materials relating to diseases, genetic anomalies, and injuries which occur in the Irish Wolfhound.

To further the understanding of Irish Wolfhound health issues, thereby improving the quality of life for Irish Wolfhounds and their owners.

IWF Research Committee Members

Mariellen Dentino, MD, Chairman
Janice M. Bright, BSN, MS, DVM, DACVIM 
Margret Casal, Dr. Med Vet, PhD, Diplomate EUCAR
Nathaniel B. Sutter, PhD
Alice Timmerman, DVM 
William D. Tyrrell Jr., DVM, DACVIM 
Frances Abrams, PhD, Administrative Coordinator - 


Attention researchers:  please read our information on available funding for new grants.

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Blood Collection for Research - The Irish Wolfhound DNA Bank

The Irish Wolfhound Foundation is building a bank of Irish Wolfhound DNA for current and future research purposes.

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The Irish Wolfhound Foundation Lifetime Cardiac Study II

The IWF is starting a new study to follow a group of Irish Wolfhounds throughout their lifetimes.

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Diet Survey 2018

In light of the FDA report on a possible connection between grain-free diets and DCM, the IWF is facilitating a survey of diet and cardiac issues in Irish Wolfhounds.

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COMPLETED - Simultaneous EKG and Echocardiograms in the Mature IW

The purpose of this study is to validate the EKG (easily available and inexpensive) as a screening test for Irish Wolfhound heart disease by comparing the results of EKGs and echocardiograms.

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COMPLETED - Comparison of Incidence of Atrial Fibrillation in the Irish Wolfhound 2000-2007 and 2007-2014

A study of the incidence of Atrial Fibrillation in Irish Wolfhounds, comparing EKG data from 2000-2007 with that from 2007-2014.

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COMPLETED - Irish Wolfhound (IWH) Screening Clinic for Occult Dilated Cardiomyopathy and Evaluation of Biomarkers

This study aims to determine whether blood tests for cardiac biomarkers can be used to identify Wolfhounds at risk for DCM so early treatment can be started.

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VPC Arrhythmias in Irish Wolfhounds

In Boxers and Dobermans, VPCs (ventriculsar premature contractions) can signal a condition which frequently leads to sudden death. In wolfhounds, VPCs appear to be more benign.   This study will give us a much better idea of whether or not VPCs are truly benign in wolfhounds

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COMPLETED - The Irish Wolfhound Lifetime Cardiac Study

The Irish Wolfhound Foundation conducted a study following over 1,000 Irish Wolfhounds throughout their lifetimes to obtain better information on cardiac disease in the breed.  The annual health questionnaires are also providign valuable information on other health issues in the breed.

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The Irish Wolfhound Seizure Study

This long-running study investigating seizures in Irish Wolfhounds is multifaceted, addressing categorization of seizures in IWs, problems involved in maintaining hounds who experience seizures, collecting and processing pedigree information, and collecting blood samples from affected hounds and their close relatives to try and identify genetic markers for this condition.

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COMPLETED - Startle Disease: A New Genetic Disorder in Irish Wolfhounds

A new genetic disorder known as startle disease has recently been identified in Irish Wolfhounds from the USA.

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Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia/Rhinitis

Wolfhound rhinitis is a disease that mainly affects the respiratory tract, i.e. the nasal passages and the lungs. To eliminate PCD from the breeding population, a DNA-based test would be extremely valuable. This study is to find the gene for PCD and subsequently develop a DNA-based test for the disease.

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Chronic/Recurring Pneumonia

Pneumonia in Irish Wolfhounds can be extremely serious or even fatal.  It can recur repeatedly, becoming a chronic condition.  This study is looking at one possible reason why some Irish Wolfhounds suffer so severely from this disease.

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Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a known genetic disease that causes blindness in dogs.  The IWF and the University of Pennsylvania are collecting blood samples in the hopes of eventually identifying the gene(s) responsible for PRA in Irish Wolfhounds.

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Changes in Hormonal Measurements in Irish Wolfhounds with Atrial Fibrillation

This study is to measure normal hormone levels in Irish Wolfhounds and in those with atrial fibrillation with normal and abnormal echocardiograms to see if there are breed-specific differences in hormone levels associated with heart disease.

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An Evaluation of Heart Rate in Irish Wolfhounds with Lone Atrial Fibrillation with Assessment of Digoxin as a Sole Means of Providing Heart Rate Control

This study is designed to evaluate the effectiveness of digoxin as a treatment for Irish Wolfhounds with atrial fibrillation.

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Clinical and Immunological Outcomes in Dogs with Osteosarcoma Treated with Intratumoral Interleukin-12 Microspheres

This is a study sponsored by the Canine Health Foundation and supported by the IWF to evaluate treatments which may delay the onset of metastatic disease in dogs with osteosarcoma who have undergone amputation and chemotherapy.

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The Irish Wolfhound Osteosarcoma Treatment Study: Alendronate (Fosamax) for Palliative Treatment of Irish Wolfhound Osteosarcoma

This study evaluated the effectiveness of Fosamax (alendronate) as a palliative therapy for osteosarcoma in Irish Wolfhounds.

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