|Welcome to the American Whippet Club|
2005 American Whippet Club Whippet Annual
Pages 276 through 301
Back issues of the AWC Whippet News Annual can be purchased for $25.00 each ($30.00 foreign), which includes shipping; all funds must be U.S. dollars, payable by check or money order to Whippet Annual. Mail to: Wendy Clark, WNAnnual Editor, 5088 Breckenhurst Dr., Hilliard, OH 43026 USA.
And the legacy continues...
Spice’s son -
Ch. Castlecrest’s In Your Dreams
In 2003 Dreamer was in the top twenty. Dreamer is a wonderful sire.
Dreamer’s son -
SBIS Ch. Castlecrest’s Heir Apparent
Peri achieved top twenty placement and #2 male whippet in just 8 months of competition. Peri’s first litter confirms to us that the legacy will continue.
And the legacy will continue...
Dreamer’s son -
Castlecrest’s Dontcha Just Lovit
Kirby is just starting his show career.
Peri’s son -
Sundowner Castlecrst White Light’n
Peri’s handsome son is looking forward to starting in the ring this spring.
Dreamer has several beautiful daughters currently being shown.
The Whippet Health Foundation, Inc. has a new website (www.whippethealth.org). We are grateful to James and Cathy Gaidos for sponsoring the previous one all these years. Included in the new website will be an open health database. It will be similar to the Bernese Mountain Dog Berner-Garde. Mr. Gary Galunas set up the Berner-Garde and he is doing the Whippet Health Foundation website and database. Thanks to a generous anonymous donation the website and database were made possible. Look for information and updates in the WHIPPET NEWS on this ongoing project.
Health testing at the 2005 AWC National Specialty in Mesa, Arizona, was well attended by Whippet owners. A total of 205 Whippets were examined. In the CERF (eye) clinic, 70 Whippets were examined. BAER hearing testing was again offered with the Whippet Health Foundation subsidizing a portion of the per dog cost. Dr. Susanne Hughes conducted the BAER tests. Sixty-seven Whippets were tested ($1340 was subsidized by the WHF). The BAER (brainstem auditory evoked response) test is a one-time only test to definitively determine if your dog can hear. The test usually takes 10-15 minutes and sedation is not necessary. Test results are confidential. It is very important for everyone to have their Whippets BAER tested, particularly animals used for breeding. It is possible for a dog to be deaf in one ear and appear to have normal hearing. Deafness is not common in the breed, however, a number of Whippets have been reported with deafness in one or both ears. To learn more about deafness in dogs and cats, including a list of testing sites, go to http://www.lsu.edu/deafness/deaf.htm
A complete cardiac screening clinic was offered at the 2005 National Specialty as part of an on-going study being conducted by Dr. Rebecca Stepien and Dr. Virginia Luis-Fuentes. A total of 48 Whippets had new complete cardiac examinations, 10 were rechecked from previous years, 7 were “old dog courtesy” exams and in addition 3 were ausculted only. The cardiac clinic was subsidized ($5400) by the Whippet Health Foundation.
We are grateful to all those individuals that have generously donated to the Whippet Health Foundation. Those donations help us support the new website and open health database, do further investigation into Whippet cardiac health as well as continue to subsidize owners expense for health testing at the National Specialties.
Mary Beth Arthur, President
The heart consists of four chambers: right atrium, left atrium, right ventricle and left ventricle. The two atria are separated by an internal septum as are the two ventricles (see Figure 1). The heart is divided into two sides (right and left) and the atrium and ventricle on each side of the heart communicate through a large opening governed by the mitral and tricuspid valves. The heart thus consists of two pumps that are arranged in series but combined within a single organ. The right pump receives deoxygenated (or venous) blood from the body and ejects it into the pulmonary trunk which carries it to the lungs for reoxygenation; the left pump receives the oxygenated (arterial) blood from the lungs and ejects it into the aorta which distributes it once more to the body.
The thick middle layer of heart wall (myocardium) is composed of cardiac muscle, a variety of striated muscle unique to this organ. It is covered externally by a layer called the epicardium and internally by a layer called the endocardium. The heart is completely covered by the pericardium, an essentially a closed sac that bathes the heart in a very small amount of fluid.
The base (top) of the heart is formed by the thin-walled chambers called atria (plural) which are separated from the ventricles by an encircling coronary groove. Each atrium ends in a free blind sac or appendage called the auricle. This can be a site of tumor formation in dogs with cardiac hemangisarcoma. The right atrium forms a chamber into which the body delivers deoxygenated blood. This is done by the great vessels the caudal and cranial vena cava. Vein entrances are unobstructed by valves so blood flows freely. The left atrium has a generally similar structure. It receives the pulmonary veins which bring freshly oxygenated blood from the lungs.
The ventricles (forming the apex or bottom of the heart) provide a much larger portion of the heart structure which is also firmer because of the great thickness of the walls. The right ventricle is crescent shaped in cross section and partially wraps around the left ventricle (see Figure 2). The right ventricle has a much thinner wall than the left, only needing to pump blood to the pulmonary arteries. The left ventricle is circular in section and forms the apex or pointed end of the heart as a whole. The wall is much thicker than that of the right ventricle in congruence with the greater work the left ventricle performs, pumping blood throughout the entire body. The ventricles are the workhorses of the heart and become major components of heart failure when incompetent or compromised valve structure leads to blood backflow into the ventricular chambers. This will, in turn, create dilated chambers and decreased functionality of the heart muscle/pumping mechanism.
The right atrioventricular or tricuspid valve is composed of three flaps or cusps that attach to a fibrous ring that encircles the opening between the right atrium and right ventricle. A similar structure on the left side of the heart is a bicuspid or mitral valve. The cusps are fused at their attachment to the heart wall, but part into separate flaps toward the center of the opening where their free margins are thick and irregular, especially in older dogs. Each cusp is joined by fibrous strands (chordae tendinae) which descend into the ventricular cavity to insert on projections from the walls (papillary muscles). There are generally three papillary muscles and the chordae tendinae are arranged so that they connect each cusp to two different muscles, each muscle to two different cusps (See Figure 3). This arrangement prevents eversion of the cusps, or valve, into the atrium during ventricular contraction. The left bicuspid or mitral valve generally has only two major cusps but is otherwise comparable to the right sided tricuspid valve. It separates the left atrium and left ventricle.
The aortic valve (separating left ventricle and aorta) and pulmonary valve (separating right ventricle and pulmonary artery) are similar in conformation to the mitral and tricuspid valves but have different orientation of their cusps.
Direction of blood flow:
Systole (SIS-tow-lee) or ventricular contraction begins when the tricuspid and mitral valves close shut between atria and ventricles and the pulmonary and aortic valves open. The strong muscular ventricles then contract with great force, causing blood to flow into the pulmonary artery and aorta with rapid ejection. When the pressure in the ventricles falls below the pressure in the arteries, blood in the arteries begins to flow back toward the ventricles, causing the pulmonary and aortic arteries to close. This is the second heart sound (S2) or the “dub”. This sound can be a split sound if the valves to not close simultaneously...this is not abnormal. The closing of these valves marks the end of systole.
The following website offers a nice color motion schematic of the heart in action. You can see the different chambers working as well as seeing what happens with pressures and valve closure: http://www-medlib.med.utah.edu/kw/pharm/.
Report from the Cardiology Screenings: AWC National 2004
Rebecca L. Stepien DVM, MS, DACVIM (Cardiology)
Thanks to the assistance of the Whippet Health Foundation and the many owners who participated in this cardiologic screening event, 65 dogs were screened during the AWC National Specialty in Greensboro, NC in April, 2004. Of these 65 dogs, 12 underwent auscultation only, and 53 had auscultation results, an electrocardiogram (ECG) and an echocardiogram recorded. This report is to summarize some of the early results of this testing. The results presented pertain to the 53 dogs that had both auscultation and echocardiogram recorded. These results are preliminary only and may change as more information is acquired and analyzed.
What was the purpose of the cardiac screening?
Who were these dogs?
How many had murmurs?
How many had abnormal valvular echocardiographic findings?
Could we differentiate mitral murmurs from ejection murmurs?
What does it all mean?
2. Mitral murmurs (also called mitral regurgitation or insufficiency murmurs) are the sound of blood leaking backward through a mitral valve that does not close properly. The changes seen on the valve include thickening and improper/incomplete closure and are due to age-related degeneration of the valve. Dogs may have mitral murmurs and mitral insufficiency for years before showing any signs of heart disease, so overall good health does not indicate whether a murmur is indicative of valve disease or an ejection murmur. Mitral insufficiency murmurs are characteristically heart best over the left apex of the heart.
3. Ejection murmurs may be detected in animals with other cardiac diseases including mitral insufficiency. Therefore, an animal diagnosed with an ejection murmur at one auscultation may also have or develop mitral disease.
4. Small amounts of valvular insufficiency may be noted by Doppler examination on both mitral and tricuspid valve. If trace insufficiency is not associated with overt anatomic abnormalities of the valve, it may indicate very early disease or be a normal variation in healthy dogs. Other factors used to decide the importance of small amounts of valvular insufficiency include cardiac chamber size, the presence of changes in heart rhythm and presence of clinical signs of heart disease (including exercise intolerance, easy fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing or fainting). In healthy dogs, the importance of small amounts of valvular insufficiency remains unclear and the presence of these findings should not be overemphasized.
A few words about the population:
Importance of this year’s findings:
Our research group continues to work with the Whippet Health Foundation to develop screening programs and acquire more information regarding the cardiac status of whippets as a breed. Watch for future events – we look forward to having you and your dog included in future studies.
Summary of Cardiac Screenings: AWC National 2005
Rebecca L. Stepien DVM, MS, DACVIM (Cardiology)
Thanks to willing participants and the generous support of the Whippet Health Foundation, another successful screening session was completed at this year’s national specialty show. The screening was expanded to cover 5 days of screening (3 full days and 2 half days). The cardiology group wants to extend our thanks to all participants for their participation, patience, assistance (and for the great family stories!).
Overview of the population screened this year:
Similar to last year’s findings, approximately 90% of the 65 dogs that were examined this year had audible heart murmurs. Most of the dogs with murmurs had ejection type murmurs consistent with athletic training. A small number of dogs did not have an audible murmur, and approximately a quarter of the dogs analyzed this year had mitral insufficiency murmurs noted.
What does it all mean?
I would like to thank all of the whippet owners who participated in the cardiac, BAER and CERF clinics at our national. We had 65 cardiac examinations, 70 BAER and 71 CERF .... lots of owners out there who want to be sure their dogs are healthy. The strength of the cardiac study is going to be in the number of repetitive exams we can do from year to year. Thus, if you are planning on coming to Boston, I would highly encourage you to have your dogs rechecked from this year and even from Greensboro if you were unable to attend in Phoenix. Every additional examination that is done yields very valuable information....even the normal exams. If you have any questions about the study, you can contact either myself or Dr. Stepien.
Respectfully submitted for the Whippet Health Foundation,
Once again another year has sped by and the CERF numbers are in. In 2004, CERF had some major computer problems and the data was not available until almost July, so I have enclosed both 2004 and 2005 results. And, as you can see, they are behind on data entry for 2005, so I will only address the 2004 data.
In 2004, 452 Whippets had CERF exams (compared to 361 in 2003). Of these, 405 Whippets had normal eyes. Of the 47 with abnormalities, 15 had defects considered inherited (which is 3.3% of the total examined). This number is lower than we have seen in past years (where the numbers have approached 10%). I hope that it indicates a truly lower incidence, rather than the fact that owners of dogs with problems have stopped having their dogs checked! Remember that anytime your dog is checked, the data goes in to CERF, even if you don’t send in for a CERF number.
When reading the statistics, any description followed by an asterisk means the condition is considered inherited or suspicious and will not pass. (Remember that any given dog may have more than one condition, so the numbers of individual conditions diagnosed will be greater than the number of abnormal dogs.) Other defects are either incidental or of unknown heritability. One that concerns me the most is any retinal atrophy - we have always considered Whippets free of PRA, but each year we see 1 or 2 dogs with what appears to be PRA. It certainly bears close watchfulness, as PRA in an untreatable condition leading fairly quickly to total blindness. The other most common conditions are cataracts of various sorts and locations and vitreal degeneration. Some Whippets will develop small (punctate) cataracts in older age, and, although they may not pass CERF, are probably not a problem. I recommend these dogs be checked annually to follow the progression of their cataracts. I have an older bitch with some small cataracts, which have not progressed over about the past 3 years, and now the ophthalmologist is considering them geriatric and not inherited. That is one reason why I strongly believe that even senior Whippets should have annual, or every other year, exams. In addition, conditions such as mild dry eye may be diagnosed, which can be treated and help keep older dogs more comfortable. Vitreal degeneration has, fortunately, so far proved to be not as serious as we initially feared. This reinforces, for me, the importance of regular exams to follow up on conditions to help decide how significant they are. As I have said (preached?!) for so many years now, one of the things we love about this breed is how healthy it is, but if we don’t continue to keep checking, not only eyes, but other conditions as they are found, we won’t be able to keep our lovely Whippets free of inherited diseases.
Copyright © 2005, American Whippet Club, All Rights Reserved.