irish wolfhound breed information

common health issues

GDV (or bloat) describes a condition whereby a dog's stomach becomes dilated with air and then, while dilated, twists over on itself, effectively sealing the stomach. The most common sign of bloat is a firm, distended stomach, especially if it seems to occur rapidly. GDV is one of the true life-threatening emergencies in dogs and many cases require emergency surgery.

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is a cardiac condition that Boxers are prone to develop. In this adult onset disease, cardiac muscle responsible for pumping the heart is replaced with fatty tissue, leading to dysfunction of the heart, arrhythmias, and congestive heart failure. Medical treatment centers on normalizing the heart rate and rhythm.

Cataracts describes the transparency of the lens in the eye.While cataracts are a common finding in older dogs, many breeds, including Cavaliers, have a genetic predisposition to juvenile cataracts, i.e., occurring in young animals. Hereditary cataracts can occur as early as six months of age and progress to complete loss of vision by two years old. The good news is that most affected lenses can be treated surgically. Cost of treatment: $1,500 to $3,000 per lens.

Osteosarcoma is the most common bone tumor in dogs, and usually strikes the leg bones of larger breed dogs. This devastating condition is severely painful and amputation of the affected limb is generally recommended to alleviate pain. Affected dogs are often euthanized before treatment due to poor prognosis, but treatment entails surgery and chemotherapy.

Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition in which the ball and socket of the hip joint do not fit well together, resulting in a hip with increased laxity. This laxity can lead to degenerative changes and depending on the severity, may require surgical correction.

Elbow dysplasia is actually a collective term which refers to the effects of one or more diseases of the elbow joint which result in pain and arthritis. Many of these problems can affect both elbows and result in forelimb lameness and elbow pain, often requiring surgical correction.

As the Irish Wolfhound’s name implies, it hails most recently from Ireland, where it was used for hunting large game, such as wolves and Irish elk, which could be as tall as six feet at the shoulders! Before helping out Irish hunters, this breed was mentioned in ancient Roman records as far back as 391 A.D. as a loyal dog that fought terrible battles at the sides of their soldier masters.

Irish Wolfhounds are the tallest of all dog breeds, standing nearly three feet tall at the shoulders. Slender, but well-muscled, their body shapes resemble that of the greyhound, though at up to 120 lbs., they are quite a bit larger. It is a laid-back breed, but due to these dogs’ large size, they are not a breed to be entered into lightly. Irish Wolfhounds need plenty of room, both indoors and outdoors, and plenty of daily exercise. Additionally, they are easily trained, but having spent years working far from their masters, they have an independent streak that must be considered. Grooming, however, is a breeze with these devoted dogs – regular brushing is all that is needed to keep their wiry coats in check.

Despite their independence and athleticism, Irish Wolfhounds are still prone to a number of hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect their health – not to mention your budget. Some of the conditions and illnesses Irish Wolfhounds are prone to include joint conditions such as elbow and hip dysplasia; eye conditions such as cataracts; skeletal issues such as osteosarcoma; heart problems such as cardiomyopathy; and internal issues such as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV or bloat).

Thankfully, veterinary pet insurance from Petplan covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Irish Wolfhound inherits more than just a large build, you’re covered.

Use the condition checker tool to learn what common conditions your pet may have.

claim calculator

  • your share of the cost: $450
  • Petplan's reimbursement to you: $1,550
  • coverage remaining in policy period: Unlimited
    (full policy limits are reinstated upon renewal)