Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Director of Veterinary Services and Animal Welfare Dr Martin Lenz is sending a timely reminder to all trainers and owners about the importance of caring for greyhounds around the clock.
Dr Lenz said insufficient care and attention can have severe consequences on the health of greyhounds, even resulting in death.
“It is really important that greyhounds are monitored regularly, in particular after they eat, and they are not left unattended for extended periods”, he said.
“Being a deep-chested breed of dog, greyhounds are prone to conditions such as Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) – bloat – after eating, potentially leading to dire consequences, if not attended to immediately.
“In this condition, the stomach distends and can twist on its axis, leading to a rapid deterioration in the dog’s state of health.
“This can occur overnight and therefore it is important that greyhounds are checked at night and early in the day.
“If the dogs are monitored, it becomes obvious that a dog is uncomfortable, and that something may be wrong and veterinary attention should be sought immediately,” he said.
Dr Lenz said in these situations, only early veterinary diagnosis and surgical intervention can save the greyhound’s life.
“It is vital that all owners and trainers monitor their dogs throughout the day and night, and pay special attention to them after they are fed,” he said.
“Owners and trainers should follow a strict routine of feeding followed by toileting and checks later in the evening and dogs should be checked again early in the morning.
“This routine must be followed each day without exception to ensure any issues are identified and addressed promptly.
“It is the responsibility of owners and trainers to ensure that all greyhounds in their care are in good health and that their environment is clean and safe at all times.”
The QRIC greyhound Stewards conduct regular kennel visits to check that these welfare standards are being met.
While most owners and trainers take the appropriate care of their animals, there are some who fall short in this duty of care, and they can bring the industry into disrepute when issues are reported.
It is in everybody’s interests that animal welfare is the top priority for the greyhound racing industry.
The standards of animal care and welfare can have a profound effect on the public’s perception of the sport.
The Commission continues to make concerted efforts to ensure that optimum care is provided to all racing animals.