IW Foundation Health Library:

If there is one key takeaway you should glean from reading abut Irish Wolfhound cardiac issues, it is that ALL Wolfhounds should be screened annually for cardiac disease after age 2. This screening is simple: an EKG and auscultation (listening with a stethoscope), preferably by a Board-certified Cardiologist, but using your own vet is many times better than not screening at all. Cardiac disease, if caught early, is much more likely to be treatable, and that means both a better quality of life and a longer lifespan for your dog.

Irish Wolfhounds have been found to have a distinct kind of Dilatative-type Cardiomyopathy (DCM). It neither presents nor progresses in the same fashion as DCM in other breeds prone to it (e.g., Dobermans). Irish Wolfhound DCM is almost always accompanied by Atrial Fibrillation (or Afib, i.e., irregular heart beats), affects the left atrium (upper part of the heart) more than the left ventricle (lower part of the heart which pumps oxygenated blood out to the body), and the left ventricle tends to function fairly normally despite slight enlargement. The prognosis for Irish Wolfhounds with DCM is better than that for breeds such as Dobermans and Boxers.

The IWF Life Cycle Study II is following hundreds of Irish Wolfhounds throughout their lives in the hopes of getting an even better understanding of heart disease in the breed.

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Links provided here provide Irish Wolfhound-specific, sighthound, and/or general canine information relevant to Irish Wolfhounds.

Disclaimer: The Irish Wolfhound Foundation provides the information on this website for the education of its readers. No information on this website should be used for veterinary medical purposes, diagnostically, therapeutically, or otherwise. Consult a veterinarian before attempting to medically treat your dog or changing your dog's medical treatment.

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