POST EXERCISE DISTRESS SYNDROMES

Friday 14 October 2011

Greyhounds Australasia (GA) in conjunction with Australian Greyhound Veterinarians (AGV) are pleased to advise that Dr Steven Karamatic has commenced a Masters in Veterinary Science at The University of Melbourne investigating Post Exercise Distress Syndromes (PEDS) in greyhounds.

PEDS is a term used to describe a variety of syndromes seen after greyhounds exercise. It includes the condition termed ‘thumps’ or diaphragmatic flutter, post exercise dyspnoea, ataxia, seizures and collapse.

As part of his Masters, Dr Karamatic will provide GA with ongoing reports, which will be shared with AGV members and industry. To date Dr Karamatic advised GA of the following:

  • He has visited Victorian, Western Australian and South Australian racetracks and properties, observing over 3,000 greyhounds following exercise.
  • Initial data suggests ‘thumps’ to be of similar incidence in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, with approximately 1 in 4 greyhounds showing signs.
  • Greyhounds showing signs of ‘thumps’ have not appeared clinically unwell.
  • ‘Thumps’ generally refers to a flutter of the diaphragm synchronous with the heart beat which can be seen visually on the left flank as an irregular pulsation almost resembling a ‘hiccup’.
  • On average, signs of ‘thumps’ are first evident 5-6 minutes after completing exercise with the vast majority of these greyhounds showing no signs of distress and returning to normal relatively quickly.
  • Ataxia (often called ‘hypoxia’) was observed in 14 greyhounds, with some repeatedly showing signs or having littermates with similar signs. Some of these ataxic greyhounds developed ‘thumps’ as well, though at this stage the two (ataxia and ‘thumps’) are alleged to be entirely separate entities.
  • Of the 3,000 greyhounds observed, none collapsed, seizured or died.

Dr Karamatic, stated today that:

“The Greyhound racing industry has never before had a study of this scope done in Australia. The amount of information that will be accrued will ensure that there is a greater understanding of causes or contributing factors to developing PEDS.

This project will enhance the welfare of greyhounds by determining trigger factors for various PEDS, and ensuring this information is distributed to racing industry members, as well as industry veterinarians. This will ensure that an accurate diagnosis and prognosis is given by veterinarians to owners and trainers, and may allow for alterations in the husbandry of greyhounds that will prevent the development of PEDS.”

The project is forecast to be completed by late 2012.

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