Health Matters

Current Health Projects


AIM To investigate how the body shape/morphology of different dog breeds affects their walking mechanics.


By improving the knowledge of dog morphology and how it  impacts on walking mechanics veterinarians can begin to understand how body shape and the way dogs walk and run might be related to specific disease and injury risks in certain breeds. This could help better inform veterinarians on treatments.


A study has been funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) with Liverpool University and the Natural History Museum. Deerhounds have been added to the breeds being examined and will be completing walking trials in Liverpool University’s purpose-built biomechanics lab. The motion of their joints will be measured using skin markers, sensors, cameras and x-ray methods. They will also be measured for a second time 2 years later. 


We currently have sufficient Deerhounds booked to be part of this study. However, if you are interested in joining the reserve list for this project please contact Stephanie Thom

Your hound needs to be between 1 – 8 years old, with no signs of health problems that affect their movement. Your hound must currently be going for walks of between 30-90 minutes a day and should be a good healthy weight. They should also be happy to be handled and do some basic tasks: standing still and walking and trotting in a straight line.


For more information please see the project website here




Delayed Post-operative Haemorrhage (DEPOH—also sometimes called Delayed Bleeding Syndrome or hyperfibrinolysis).

This condition has been known to affect Greyhounds and other sighthounds for some years. In USA they have been carrying out research into this condition and its incidence in Deerhounds. The researchers have recently published a paper and launched a new test ”DEPOHGEN™ for the genetic mutation.

The article in the reference section below explains what is known about the bleeding disorders that are known to affect Deerhounds and how they differ. This article “Bleeding Disorders” was printed originally in the Claymore magazine. We acknowledge The Claymore, Scottish Deerhound Club of America and the author John Dillberger, DVM, for kindly giving us permission to reprint this article in our Newsletter.

Cases of DEPOH, some of which have led to fatal consequences have been reported from USA and Europe. It is hoped that genetic testing might identify hounds which are susceptible to this condition. This is important as the treatment is fortunately very effective. The Health Group are very interested to establish the incidence of DEPOH in the UK Deerhound population. We have launched a project (details below), to inform members about this condition and enable us to collect data from the UK Deerhound population. We welcome data about any hounds suspected to have suffered from this bleeding disorder in the UK.


AIM – To assess the incidence of delayed postoperative haemorrhage (DEPOH) in Deerhounds.

BENEFITS – Individual owners of dogs that test positive for the genetic mutation associated with DEPOH will benefit, as if your veterinarian is aware that your hound is positive for the DEPOH mutation, an antifibrinolytic drug to prevent the breakdown of an important blood-clotting protein can be administered prior to any surgical procedure. In addition, knowledge of the incidence rates of DEPOH in Deerhounds will help direct future research efforts.

PROGRESS – Washington State University’s Pharmacogenomics Laboratory are able to detect if your hound has the genetic mutation associated with DEPOH and are now able to take samples sent from the UK. The club will be developing a survey for members to report any genetic test results or issues experienced with DEPOH so that the incidence of DEPOH can be tracked.

HOW CAN MEMBERS GET INVOLVED - UK Deerhound Club members should send a DNA swab sample only (not a blood sample) to the Pharmacogenics Laboratory in the USA - Pharmacogenomics Laboratory, 1855 Grimes Way, Bustad 250B. Pullman, WA 99163-0609, USA. The cost is approx. £48 per dog ($65) and can be paid with a credit card. The custom information required when sending the sample through the mail is given below and an online submission form here should be used to order and pay for the test.

Medical cytology brushes should be used to collect your hounds DNA by gently scraping along their cheeks. You need to purchase these yourself as it is not cost effective to send them from the USA. However, please make sure on the on line form you check the “use own brush” option so you are not charged for a kit. If you cannot obtain a medical cytology brush you can use interdental brushes but you need to avoid fluoride flavoured brushes. DenTek - Slim Brush Interdental Cleaners - Tapered Bristles – Unflavoured are an example of suitable brushes and they are available via Amazon.

When you take the DNA sample you need to place the brush bristles between your hound’s inner cheek and gum. Twirl the brush with your thumb and forefinger while moving it back and forth on the surface of the cheek. Continue this motion for 20 seconds using the amount of pressure your pet will comfortably accept. Use your other hand to gently keep the pet’s mouth closed. Repeat sample collection on the other side of the mouth using the second brush. Air dry the brush for 30 minutes, then place the brush in the swab sleeve. Do not touch the brush bristles with your fingers. Additional supporting information can be found via the Frequently Asked Questions available here

FUTURE PLANS – The health group will report on DEPOH incidence rates on a regular basis as information becomes available via the survey.


For further information on DEPOH please see here Bleeding Issues – Deerhound Health from the Scottish Deerhound Club of America

Testing information is available here Pharmacogenomics Laboratory | Washington State University (


AIM - This study aims to firstly monitor deerhounds under controlled and reproducible conditions to determine accurate heart measurements for the breed and secondly to extend understanding of possible genetic links to deerhound heart conditions.

BENEFITS – This will help the breed as vets will be able to make earlier and more accurate diagnosis of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) heart conditions and help establish if there is a genetic link to DCM which will enable further understanding and possible treatment in the long term. PROGRESS – The first two phases of the project have now been completed and the results have been published in 2021 to provide greater information on typical heart measurements for the Deerhounds for vets . Emily and the Deerhound Club have now secured a £8000 grant from PetSavers for the further genetic research. This genetic research project, GenDeer, website ( requires blood samples for cardiac bio-markers (Troponin and NT-pro-BNP) and for DNA analysis from hounds of any age which are affected by DCM. In addition echocardiograms from hounds that are affected with DCM are also required. We also need more blood samples for DNA analysis from normal dogs as the control/comparative group. Currently we only have a few DNA samples from DCM affected hounds but these are currently being genome sequenced which is a really exciting development.  

FUTURE PLANS - A heart scanning clinic will take place at the Breed Show in 2023 in Scotland. Hounds of any age which meet the criteria to be included in this current research (e.g. are known to be affected by DCM or are subsequently determined to be affected by DCM) will have no charges as tests will be covered by the research fund. Other hounds of any age can still be scanned at the subsidised rate of £125 for initial echocardiograms and £120 for repeat. The Deerhound Club subsidise these scans and they do provide very good value for Club members. Blood tests for normal hounds will not be charged for. 

HOW CAN MEMBERS GET INVOLVED – Please consider having your hounds heart scanned at the Breed Show. Alternatively if you can host a session at a venue near you and gather together about 7 hounds for screening Emily can complete heart scanning outside the Breed Show. Please contact Sarah Helps to discuss further. Also if you would like to hire Holter heart testing equipment for use in your home please contact Sarah Helps to discuss the use of the Holter monitor further (Tel: 07901911679 or Finally, it would be very beneficial for this research if you could also consider having post-mortem tests completed for DCM affected hounds. It is appreciated that losing your Deerhound will be an extremely upsetting time. We are very sorry for your loss and very much appreciate your consideration of this request. Please see below for the forms required.


Overview of the Genetic Heart Study (GENDEER) research project by Emily Dutton is available here

November 2022 update of the Genetic Heart Study (GENDEER) research project by Ewelina Korzybska here 

Summary of the published paper from the first phases of the Heart Study project outlining Deerhound specific heart interval data is available here

Heart Screening shaving information here

Further information about the Vet leading the study is here -

The article published in the Summer 2013 Newsletter has been updated. See here for the updated report.

Heart Study introduction to post-mortem tests here

Heart Study post-mortem instructions for your vet here

Heart Study submission form for your vet here


AIM – To assess the incidence of congenital portosystemic shunt (PSS) in Deerhounds and the effectiveness of puppy screening.

BENEFITS – Knowledge of the incidence rates of PSS in Deerhounds will help direct future research efforts. In addition this study will help understand if the current methods of screening at 8 -12 weeks is the most appropriate or if improvements can be made.

PROGRESS – The club has an on-going survey and arrangement with Capital Diagnostics to complete bile acid analysis for Deerhound puppies at a very reasonable price (£4 per puppy). Over 900 puppies have been tested to date and the prevalence of PSS in puppies has been determined at around 2.4%. Additional data analysis has been completed and is available in the report (see reference section). There is also a summary below. The tests are provided by Capital Diagnostics  (SAC Veterinary Services) at a subsidised cost.

FUTURE PLANS – This study is on-going and would really benefit from all club members getting their puppies tested by Capital Diagnostics.

HOW CAN MEMBERS GET INVOLVED – Get your litters of puppies tested for PSS by your local vet following the procedures outlined in this article in the reference section. Then submit a single serum sample taken 2 hours after feeding your pup to Capital Diagnostics for bile acid analysis. The cost is £4 per puppy. The contact information is Bryn TENNANT on 01315353145, via email: or by post - Capital Diagnostics, SAC Veterinary Services, Allan Watt Building, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian, EH26 0QE. They will send you a pack containing the laboratory submission form, blood sample tubes and a freepost envelope. 


Year     number of pups with bile acids >30 micro mol /L   total number of pups tested

2014                6  (3.6%)        `                                             167

2015                5  (4.5%)                                                      110

2016                5  (4.0%)                                                      124

2017                0   (0%)                                                        147

2018                2   (1.89)                                                      106

2019                1  (1.9%)                                                        52

2020                1   (0.8%)                                                     130

2021                3     (3.2%)                                                     95

2022                1      (1.6%)                                                    64

Total             24    (2.4%)                                                     995


The range of bile acids values in the positive dogs indicating PSS is 31.8-288.3 mirco mol / L. A few dogs with values in the lower range at 8 weeks show normal results at 10-12 weeks, the reason for which is unclear, but might be explained by delayed closure  of the shunting vessel. 


The article published in the Newsletter is given here but note that the costs have increased to £4 per puppy from £2. 

PSS May 2017 results update is here


AIM – To report on the causes of death in UK deerhounds and possible trends over the period 2004 – 2014 and 2014 - 2024.
BENEFITS – Will generate greater understanding of health problems and will direct where the club should be focussing health studies/funding to help the breed.

PROGRESS – Sarah Helps is collecting the data and with Duncan Robertson has reported current results for the period 2004 - 2014.

FUTURE PLANS – Sarah is now collecting the data for the next 10 year period with further reporting planned into the future.

HOW CAN MEMBERS GET INVOLVED – Please get in touch with Sarah directly with any information concerning the death of a hound from 2004 onwards. The following information is required KC Registered name of Deerhound, Sex of hound, Date of Birth, Date of Death, Any concurrent illnesses, Cause of death: - Illness/disease/trauma/accident. Evidence if available mortem/autopsy/veterinary report. There is also a form to use (available in the reference section below) if you would find that helpful.

Email: Sarah Helps


Mortality Data Reporting Form


Completed Health Projects

Competed Health Projects are available here

Information for Breeders

Genetic Testing

To maximise the Health and Welfare of Deerhounds, the Deerhound Club encourages Breeders to ensure that their breeding programmes strive to eliminate hereditary disorders and minimise genetic defects whilst continuing to ensure a wide genetic base for the breed. In addition to the well established test for Factor VII Deficiency, there is now a test for Hairlessness in deerhounds. For details see here

The Deerhound Breed Health and Conservation Plan (BHCP)

The Deerhound Club has launched the Deerhound Breed Health and Conservation Programme in collaboration with the Kennel Club. The purpose of this project is to ensure that all health concerns for our breed are identified through evidence-based criteria, and that breeders are provided with useful information and resources to support them in making balanced breeding decisions that make health a priority. This is the start of an evolving process and we have an action plan which will be reviewed with the Kennel Club in late 2019. The plan can be viewed here

For more information about this process please visit the Kennel Club website:

Kennel Club Academy

Kennel Club on-line learning resource including information on: Dog Breeding, Getting started with Genes and Inheritance, Getting started with DNA Testing, Getting started with Simple and Complex Inherited Disorders, How to use Mate Select, Getting started with Inbreeding and Selection, Getting started with Estimated Breeding Values.

 Breeding from your dogs

Kennel Club information guide

Breeding for health

Kennel Club information guide

Portosystemic shunt testing

Factor VII Deficiency

What is Portosystemic Shunt?


Forms to Download

Heart Study introduction to post-mortem tests

Heart Study post-mortem instructions for your vet

Heart Study submission form for your vet

Mortality Data Reporting Form

Seminar/Course Information

Information will be added when any seminars/courses are available.

General health information / articles of interest

Paper from Nottingham University examining Molecular Characterisation of Canine Osteosarcoma in High Risk Breeds.

Help My Deerhound is having trouble peeing!

Genomic insights into Cardiomyopathies: A comparative cross-species review

A review of the genetics of heart disease in various species

Paper examining Osteosarcoma Genetic Inheritance 

Tick Borne Disease

Portosystemic Shunt Survey Report

Animal DNA Diagnostics Ltd (Factor VII testing)

Lung Worm Update

Cardiac or Respiratory Disease?

Cardiomyopathy Update

Osteosarcoma Update

RSPCA Commission independant scientific report on Pedigree Dog Breeding in the UK

The Bateson Inquiry

Donations to the Deerhound Health Fund

The Deerhound Club needs your support to help fund health projects. If you are able to donate any money, however, small, to help improve deerhound health into the future please donate via paypal using the buttons below or send a cheque made payable to the Deerhound Club to Sandra Cummings, stating that the money is to be allocated to the Deerhound Health Fund. A separate Health Fund account has been established for this purpose. The money will be used in the first instance to fund Phase 2 of the heart study. The club have been very fortunate to have received a donation from Bev Doyle of £3000 which the club has matched. This is funding Phase 1 of the study and the screening of 40 dogs. To continue this study, further funds are needed, and therefore the Deerhound Club are very grateful for health fund donations.

Sandra's address is:

Mrs S Cummings
21 Dan y coedcae Road
Mid Glam
CF37 1LS

Thank you for your help The Deerhound Health Group


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