Celebrating Greyhounds - Spring/Summer 2017 - 33
Blood Values Make Greyhounds Unique
Part 2: What the numbers and differences mean.
By Calli Cook
art one of "Blood Values Make
Greyhounds Unique," reviewed the
complete blood count (CBC) of a
Greyhound, and the differences in how much
oxygen is delivered to the muscle and how
many white blood cells are in their bodies as
compared to other canine breeds. It would
seem like those differences are enough, and
the remaining labs should be similar to nonGreyhound dogs. Well, friends, that is not the
Let's start with the liver. The liver is an
important organ in the metabolism of
the changes we see in human patients with
food and drugs. There are two main blood
Gilbert's Syndrome. Gilbert's Syndrome is a
markers that check for liver damage: alanine
genetic disease that can cause mildly elevated
aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate
ALT without any symptoms or liver disease.
aminotransferase (AST). ALT is found in the
A genetic change could be a reasonable
liver, and elevated levels are directly correlated
explanation of the Greyhounds' live function
with liver damage; AST is found throughout
test abnormalities. Another reasonable
the body in various cells (Vroon & Israili, 1990).
hypothesis for this is the Greyhounds' increased
AST can be elevated in hepatic injury, but also
muscle mass (Valentine, Blue, Shelley, & Cooper,
for other reasons not related to the liver.
1990). Again, selective breeding most likely
Greyhounds have elevated ALT without
caused this, and unlike the RBC changes that
associated liver damage (Dunlop et al., 2011).
improve the Greyhounds' athletic ability, this is
I was puzzled by this and could not find any
just a side effect.
data about why this would occur. I thought
It would be reasonable to think that due
about this and hypothesized that the changes
to the Greyhounds' elevated ALT, they cannot
in the Greyhounds' ALT could be similar to
process drugs as quickly as non-Greyhound
33 Celebrating Greyhounds Spring/Summer 2017