Greyhounds are typically a healthy and long-lived breed, and hereditary illness is rare. Some Greyhounds have been known to develop esophageal achalasia, Bloat (gastric torsion), and osteosarcoma. Because the Greyhound's lean physique makes it ill-suited to sleeping on hard surfaces, owners of companion Greyhounds generally provide soft bedding; without bedding, Greyhounds are prone to develop painful skin sores. Greyhounds typically live 10–13 years.
Due to the unique physiology and anatomy of greyhounds, a veterinarian who understands the issues relevant to the breed is generally needed when the dogs need treatment, particularly when anaesthesia is required. Greyhounds cannot metabolize barbiturate-based anesthesia as other breeds can because they have lower amounts of oxidative enzymes in their livers.
Greyhounds demonstrate unusual blood chemistry, which can be misread by veterinarians not familiar with the breed; this can result in an incorrect diagnosis. Greyhounds have higher levels of red blood cells than do other breeds. Since red blood cells carry oxygen to the muscles, this higher level allows the hound to move larger quantities of oxygen faster from the lungs to the muscles. Veterinary blood services often use greyhounds as universal blood donors.
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