Dog breeds at risk of delayed postoperative hemorrhage

Sideview of Deerhound with tongue out.

Delayed postoperative hemorrhage (DEPOH), a potentially deadly disorder that causes excessive bleeding and bruising in the hours and days following surgical procedures, has been shown to be quite common in greyhounds, Irish wolfhounds, and other sighthounds. Recent research at WSU has also found many popular breeds have a mutation in the DEPOH gene, which has been shown to be associated with the condition.

The only way to know if an individual dog has the mutant DEPOH gene is to have the dog tested.

Learn more and order bleeding disorder testing for dogs on Dr. Court’s site.

In what breeds has the DEPOH mutation been found?

Using samples submitted by pet owners and from the university’s pet DNA bank, researchers at WSU have found the DEPOH mutant gene in many sighthound breeds including the greyhound, Irish wolfhound, Scottish deerhound, Basenji, Italian greyhound, Galgo Español, Azawakh, Scottish deerhound, whippet, Saluki, Peruvian Inca Orchid, Rhodesian ridgeback, Borzoi, and longhaired whippet; and in popular breeds like the English bulldog, Shetland sheepdog, Jack Russell terrier, French bulldog, Boston terrier, Newfoundland, Australian cattle dog, boxer, golden retriever, Yorkshire terrier, Cairn terrier, great Pyrenees, miniature schnauzer, German shepherd, American Staffordshire terrier, border collie, pitbull, Chesapeake bay retriever, beagle, Labrador retriever, chow chow, and rottweiler; and mixed breeds. 

Is it likely that more breeds will be added to the list?

As of the publication of this article, researchers, led by Dr. Michael Court, a veterinarian and professor of pharmacology and genomics in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Program in Individualized Medicine, have screened 75 breeds using samples submitted by pet owners and from the WSU pet DNA bank. The mutant DEPOH gene has already been detected in 37 of those breeds, and research is continuing to explore how common the mutation is.

As more dogs are tested, more breeds will likely be added to the list of affected breeds.

How common are the mutation and delayed postoperative hemorrhage in these breeds?

More research is needed to determine how common the DEPOH mutation is in the various breeds, however, delayed postoperative hemorrhage has been shown to be quite common in many sighthound breeds, like greyhounds.

The disorder was first identified in retired racing greyhounds in 2007 based on a web-based health survey of owners across the United States. The survey results indicated that bleeding disorders were one of the four most reported causes of death in greyhounds, with a significant proportion of those deaths attributed to postoperative bleeding. A subsequent study of greyhounds undergoing routine spays and neuters showed unexpected postoperative hemorrhage in 26% of dogs starting 36 to 48 hours after the procedure. Signs of abnormal bleeding ranged from severe skin bruising around the surgical site to oozing of blood from the wound.