bully whippet

cpnchookum  asked:

Whippets! I kept one for 17 and a half years, surprising our vet, and I miss him dearly. Also, I came here since you're a friend of a friend I played DND with, and stayed because of the intriguing (and at times hilarious) fantasy creature anatomy treatises.

How are you going? Sorry it’s taken me so long toe get around to your breed, the queue has been… long.

Please note the disclaimer that these posts are about the breed from a veterinary viewpoint as seen in clinical practice, i.e. the problems we are faced with. It’s not the be-all and end-all of the breed and is not to make a judgement about whether the breed is right for you. If you are asking for an opinion about these animals in a veterinary setting, that is what you will get. It’s not going to be all sunshine and cupcakes, and is not intended as a personal insult against your favorite breed. This is general advice for what is common, often with a scientific consensus but sometimes based on personal experiences, and is not a guarantee of what an individual animal is going to encounter in their life.

Originally posted by rocketsnacks

These little dogs can be thought of as miniature greyhounds, though they are smaller, not as strongly selected for racing and don’t go through the same training and supplement regimes as greyhounds often do.

Overall they are reasonably healthy. It’s rare for me to see them for an orthopedic injury that isn’t the direct result of the dog jumping off something too high. They do get the usual collection of old age diseases, but this is largely because these dogs are actually achieving old age.

Like greyhounds, whippets often have relatively thin skin, making them prone to minor scrapes and cuts, and are sensitive to barbituate (but not all) anaesthetics.

Dental health is very hit or miss with this breed. They either do very well, or their mouth turns into a sewer and needs multiple tooth extractions.

Anxiety seems particularly common in this breed, and not just as the vet clinic. I don’t think this is any kind of flaw in so many dog’s upbringings, I think it is a genuine predisposition within the breed. Many are manageable without medication though.

Eye problems the breed is predisposed to, but not nearly as commonly as other breeds, are cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy, both of which can result in blindness.

A quirk of this breed is that when they gain fat, they don’t always balloon out in the middle like many other dogs do. They tent to distribute their fat more evenly, so you can end up with a very fat whippet who does not actually look fat unless you are used to seeing this breed. If these dogs continue to gain weight you end up with something that looks like a whippet head on a stafford body.

Like many dog breeds, whippets will grow lipomas in their old age. These benign fatty tumors are usually limited to the body, rather than the limbs. In most breeds they’re rounded like an egg, but in whippets and other sighthounds they are often flatter and have a firmer texture. Fine needle aspirates can be performed to confirm in any case.

Bully whippets are the result of a homozygous myostatin mutation, effectively doubling the musculature of the dog. To my knowledge this mutation is unique to whippets, and affected dogs don’t seem to have any major issues from this mutation, other than occasional muscle cramping.

(Image source)

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Isn’t it amazing the effect a single genetic mutation can have on the phenotype of an animal? The “bully whippet” in front of the normal sized whippet on top and the Belgian Blue “supercow” on the bottom lack myostatin, a gene that inhibits muscle growth. The result is Muscular Hypertrophy or double muscling where the muscle cells multiply. So far geneticists have found naturally occurring myostatin “nulls” in whippets, some breeds of cattle, and humans. The result in every case is freakishly shaped muscle mass. Absolutely fascinating!   

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Wendy the Bully Whippet!! Whippets are the only breed that have a genetic mutation that gives her double muscles!