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Irish Wolfhounds - Respiratory -- Pneumonia

    Some Irish Wolfhounds may be affected by respiratory conditions; pneumonia can be life threatening and requires immediate veterinary attention.  Although affected dogs may have a typical look or presentation, it may not be recognised by those who have not seen it before.  This article presents links to information and videos for both owners and veterinarians from the Irish Wolfhound Health Group, an excellent international effort for the breed.

    In addition, research evidence from Sweden confirms that this is an important condition in this breed.  According to Agria insurance reports, on veterinary care events and deaths, the Irish Wolfhound breed is at increased risk for veterinary care events related to the respiratory system issues than compared to All Breeds.

    Pneumonia -- Irish Wolfhound

    This video link provided below shows the typical stance of an Irish Wolfhound with pneumonia.



    Pneumonia in an irish wolfhound from Per Arne Flatberg on Vimeo.

    If you see this in your Irish wolfhound, go straight to the vet and urgently request immediate treatment with antibiotics. The dog may or may not have fever, the blood samples may well be normal, and the lungs may or may not be congested on x-rays.
    If not taken seriously, this condition will almost certainly be fatal for your dog.

    NOTE  any suggestions on specific drugs or dosages must be discussed with your veterinarian, as current recommendations may change and be different across countries.


    Further information:

    The Irish Wolfhound Health Group has an excellent page on Pneumonia in the breed - with information sheets for owners and veterinarians.

    Please read the leaflets from the Irish Wolfhound Health Group for further info:

    Information sheets on: Pneumonia in the Irish Wolfhound -- 


    Evidence on disease risk in Irish Wolfhounds:  Agria Swedish Insurance Data

    Elsewhere on the site we describe the breed statistics available from Agria Animal Insurance in Sweden.  The full Breed Updates 2006-2011 are available for over 115 breeds in our Downloads section, but, currently, only to certain membership categories, including Breed Club Health Committee representatives, Experts and IPFD Partners. Newer statistics, 2011-2016 are available to such groups on request to


    Below we are providing relevant excerpts from Agria's Veterinary Care Events (illness, VCE) 2006-2011 report for Irish Wolfhounds and for Mortality (deaths). The information below represents a small proportion of available information and full appreciation of the situation for Irish Wolfhounds should include further review.  This has been excerpted merely to illustrate the the discussion of pneumonia. We hope it will inform and educate those with an interest in Irish Wolfhound's health and individual dog's/breed management.


    The material for the Irish Wolfhounds included approximately 700 dogs over 6 years.  Here is a graph showing the risk of having at least one veterinary care event for these general causes of disease in Irish Wolfhounds (red line), compared to that in All Breeds, combined (yellow line indicating baseline risk for the condition).  Irish Wolfhounds have a markedly increased risk for problems involving the lower respiratory system.



    In the graph below, the red line is the rate for the specific diagnosis in Irish Wolfhounds, and the blue line is the rate for All Breeds, combined.  Pneumonia is much more common in Irish Wolfhounds than other breeds.





    Below are the mortality rates for the 4 most common Specific Causes of death in Irish Wolfhounds and rates for the same conditions in All Breeds, combined. The mortality rates in these insurance statistics are based on dogs 10 years of age and younger.  Because many Irish Wolfhounds are dead by 10 years of age, their rates of death, for essentially all causes, are, on average high relative to All Breeds.  However, it is clear that this breed has a markedly increased risk for death due to problems like pneumonia.

    mortality graphic2.png




    ALSO SEE: The Irish Wolfhound.


    We would like to thank Per Arne Flatberg, a breed expert, for sharing this information and video. pawprint15x15transparent.png







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