Breed-related disease: Afghan Hound

Afghan hound, breed of dog developed as a hunter in the hill country of Afghanistan. It was once thought to have originated several thousand years ago in Egypt, but there is no evidence for this theory. It was brought to Europe in the late 19th century by British soldiers returning from the Indian-Afghan border wars. The Afghan hound hunts by sight and, in its native Afghanistan, has been used to pursue leopards and gazelles. The animal is adapted to rough country by the structure of its high, wide hipbones. A long-legged dog, the Afghan stands 25 to 27 inches (63.5 to 68.5 cm) high and weighs from 50 to 60 pounds (23 to 27 kg). It has floppy ears, a long topknot, and a long, silky coat of various but usually solid colours. The coat is especially heavy on the forequarters and hindquarters; the Afghan carries its slim tail in an upright curve. The Afghan’s appearance has been described as “aristocratic, with a farseeing expression.”

The Afghan Hound is aloof and dignified, except when he’s being silly. Aloof doesn’t mean shy; he should never be afraid of people and is usually not aggressive toward them. He takes his time getting to know people outside his family. People who are fortunate enough to be allowed into his circle of friends will experience a dog with an exuberant nature and a wicked sense of humor.

Afghans do everything to extremes. They are drama queens and food thieves, bossy and mischievous. They have a high prey drive, and although they may get along with the cats they were raised with, outdoor cats should fear for their lives when the Afghan springs into action.

The Afghan is an independent thinker. He’s happy to do what you ask—as long as that’s what he wanted to do anyway. He’s highly intelligent and learns quickly, but he won’t always respond to your commands, er, requests. He’s thinking about it. Maybe he’ll do it later. Or not. This can make him frustrating to train and even more frustrating to compete with. Afghans have done well in sports such as agility and lure coursing, but only when their people have extreme patience, a never-ending sense of humor and a good command of positive reinforcement techniques to lure him into compliance.

In this article we put some of the most important genetic predispositions for Afghan hounds

Let’s get started:

Heart Disease
Afghan Hounds are prone to multiple types of heart disease, which can occur both early and later in life. We’ll listen for heart murmurs and abnormal heart rhythms when we examine your pet. When indicated, we’ll perform an annual heart health check, which may include X-rays, an ECG, or an echocardiogram, depending on your dog’s risk factors. Early detection of heart disease often allows us to treat with medication that usually prolongs your pet’s life for many years:


Bone and Joint Problems
A number of different musculoskeletal problems have been reported in Afghan Hounds. While it may seem overwhelming, each condition can be diagnosed and treated to prevent undue pain and suffering. With diligent observation at home and knowledge about the diseases that may affect your friend’s bones, joints, or muscles you will be able to take great care of him throughout his life.


when it is time for a dental cleaning, surgery, or minor procedures such as suturing a wound, anesthesia is usually necessary. Afghan Hounds have a number of idiosyncrasies that can increase the risk of anesthesia. The good news is we have many years of experience with sighthounds and know to pay special attention to anesthetic problems such as:

Hyperthermia (body temperature dangerously high) in nervous dogs

Hypothermia (body temperature dangerously low) in dogs with a lean body conformation

Prolonged recovery from some intravenous anesthetics and increased risks of drug interactions.


Thyroid Problems
Afghans are prone to a common condition called hypothyroidism in which the body doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone. Signs can include dry skin and coat, hair loss, susceptibility to other skin diseases, weight gain, fearfulness, aggression, or other behavioral changes.


Afghans are more prone to an uncommon, but serious, condition called chylothorax where the chest cavity fills with a milky substance called chyle. In affected dogs, chyle accumulates in the chest cavity because of a faulty lymphatic duct called the thoracic duct. Chylothorax, while rare, is life threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Often surgery is need to help manage the disease. Watch for difficulty breathing, coughing or lethargy as these may be the first signs of this disease.



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