The Whippet is a structurally sound breed which has been kept free from the physical exaggerations that can lead to health problems, this must surely be due to the fact that many whippets course, work and race. The whippet can still be used for the purpose for which it was bred and certainly fits the kennel clubs vital criteria as "fit for function "
In 2004 kennel club conducted a health survey of all breeds. The following is a brief summary of the results for the whippet.
Only 26.7% of dogs were reported to have died of old age
One can therefore assume that respondents thought that around 75% of their whippets died before their time which seems a surprisingly high figure and ages of death are not givenso maybe expectations were too high.
14% died of heart failure of some description
NB:the survey lumps all coronary defects together.
10% died of cancer
6.4% died from urological defects
25% of the sample died before the age of 10
Average age of death was 12 years 10 months
Health Information was reported for 1214 live dogs only 4.8% of the live population of whippets in the UK
Of the live dogs 24% were reported as having at least one health condition. The average age of those dogs was 8 years old.
2.5% of the sample died before they achieved their 10th Birthday and the average age of death was 12yrs 10months
This survey was comparative against other breeds and shows the whippet in a reasonable light against the “average pedigree dog”.
One area in which the whippet scored poorly was, unsurprisingly, trauma such as road traffic accidents, spinal damage and attacks from other dogs.
Disease conditions reported by organ system.
Top of the list is the Reproductive system, not really a surprise given that this was a breeders survey. Top of the list comes lack of testicles as the most reported problem in this area.
Next on the list are Cardiac problems. This is the second most reported area of ill health in the breed in this survey. 13.8% of the sample were listed as having some form of heart condition. This covers the spectrum from low grade murmurs to Mitral Valve Disease.
Following on from reproductive and heart for reported conditions came
Cerebral vascular – stroke
Neurologic-Seizures, spinal disease
Immune mediated-Thrombocytopaenia, AIHA, unspecified
Gastrointestinal- enteritis, pancreatitis
Musculoskeletal- Arthritis, brittle bones, joint pain
Endocrine – Cushings, diabetes, addisons
Hepatic- Liver failure