02285-A: Thrombocytopenia and Occult Vector-Borne Disease in Greyhound Dogs: Implications for Clinical Cases and Blood Donors

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $12,960
Linda Kidd, DVM, PhD; Western University of Health Sciences
July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017


Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Tick-Borne Disease Initiative
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Retired racing greyhounds (RRG) are popular pets, and are also commonly used as blood donors to treat all types of dogs. Not all greyhounds are RRG; show-bred greyhounds (SBG) have traceable pedigrees verifying they do not descend from racing lines. Low platelet (thrombocytopenia) and white blood cell counts are considered normal findings in greyhounds. Protein in the urine is common. Because these findings can also be caused by infection with vector-borne disease agents, greyhounds can present clinicians with a diagnostic dilemma. Whether these laboratory results are found with the same frequency in RRG and SBG has not been investigated.

Racing greyhounds are commonly exposed to the brown dog tick, which transmits many agents that can cause disease. Vector-borne diseases are also transmitted by the lone star tick, also common in the region of the U.S. where racing farms are located. Because these pathogens can cause chronic, clinically silent infection, we hypothesize that infection occurs in, and contributes to blood and urine abnormalities in some healthy-appearing RRG. This study will compare the prevalence of vector-borne diseases in RRG and SBG, determine whether thrombocytopenia, low white blood cell counts and protein in the urine are associated with vector-borne disease in RRG, and whether blood and urine abnormalities occur with the same frequency in RRG and SBG. The results will help veterinarians decide when to pursue infectious disease testing, and whether more aggressive infectious disease screening for both pet and blood donor greyhounds is warranted based on lineage.


Kidd, L., Hamilton, H., Stine, L., Qurollo, B., & Breitschwerdt, E. B. (2022). Vector-borne disease and its relationship to hematologic abnormalities and microalbuminuria in retired racing and show-bred greyhounds. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1111/jvim.16477

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