- Salukis are mostly healthy — Many conditions and health concerns of similar breeds don’t apply to them.
- Screen your Saluki — Health screenings give owners time to prepare for any likely and progressive diseases.
- Schedule regular vet visits — Some illnesses have mild or no symptoms — your veterinarian can help you watch for the signs.
Common Saluki health problems
Beyond requiring moderate temperatures and the most comfortable place to lie down in the house, Salukis are surprisingly healthy. Whether that’s a result of careful stewardship of their breeding or the overall nature of sighthounds, Saluki owners shouldn’t expect many health problems. There are a few medical conditions, however, to keep tabs on:
Due to their low body fat, anesthesia has been a delicate part of any sighthound’s veterinary care. In recent years with the development of newer anesthetic drugs, the risks associated with anesthesia have been low for pets, including Salukis. Pet parents should double-check with their vet to make sure they are familiar with the special attention a Saluki might need before any surgeries.
This heart disease causes abnormalities in the heart muscle of dogs and humans, resulting in thickening. It takes on two forms: dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). DCM is the most common form for dogs, while HCM is more common in cats.
- Dilated cardiomyopathy. This progressive weakening of the heart muscle causes contraction problems. Symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy include rapid breathing, faster fatigue, weakness, weight loss, and sudden death.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This condition occurs when the heart muscles thicken so much that the heart can no longer function properly.
DCM tends to affect young and middle-aged dogs. Large breeds, even thin dogs like the Saluki, are more susceptible.
Hypothyroidism is a metabolic disease that occurs when the thyroid gland produces a lower-than-needed amount of hormones. Once diagnosed, it is treatable with daily medications. Its mild form is typically hard to spot, but the symptoms are clearer as it progresses with a Saluki, especially in unaltered females. As the disease progresses, more obvious symptoms in both sexes include:
- Obesity. As a thinner breed, unplanned weight gain is easy to spot.
- Low energy. Salukis tend to be high energy, so watch for signs that your Saluki is tiring faster than expected or sleeping more.
- Coat changes. Salukis have beautiful short coats. As you groom them, watch for brittle, coarse, or thinning and coarse hair as well as darker skin.
Certain cancers, such as hemangiosarcoma, osteosarcoma, and lymphoma have been diagnosed in the breed, along with memory cancers in unaltered females.
👉 Read about how you can help your Saluki stay healthy and avoid cancer!
Also known as bloat, this condition can happen when high-energy, active dogs start exercising, running, and playing too soon after eating. While it may not sound serious, bloat in dogs is life-threatening. If you notice symptoms of bloat, get your Saluki to a vet as soon as possible.
Progressive retinal atrophy
This degenerative eye disease is marked by the gradual loss of sight as Salukis age. It isn’t painful and often isn’t noticed immediately. The first signs of PRA include night blindness, dilated pupils, and increased clumsiness.
Recommended tests for a Saluki
While Salukis tend to be healthier than other exotic breeds, you may want to screen them for certain health conditions . These tests include a:
- Cardiac exam
- Thyroid evaluation
- Bloodwork panel
Book a thorough medical exam with your family vet when you bring your puppy or adult Saluki home.
Frequently asked questions
Do Salukis have health problems?
Compared with many other breeds, Salukis are healthy. That being said, they are prone to certain heart problems, cancers, and possibly arthritis related to the size of their breed and need for activity.
What is the best diet for a Saluki?
Like with any dog, a high-quality commercial dog food is the best choice for keeping your Saluki happy and healthy. It’s best to consult with a veterinarian or vet nutritionist before attempting any homemade dog food diets.
Are Salukis prone to bloat?
While quite hardy, as runners and a more agile breed, bloat is a risk that pet owners should keep an eye out for. Bloat is a build-up of gas in the stomach, and while it can be a chronic, long-lasting condition, it can also be fatal if not treated.