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Familial Enamel Hypoplasia Or Amelogenesis Imperfecta In The Italian Greyhound

The Italian greyhound is a small, light and lean dog breed that falls within the Kennel Club’s toy group, and these are petite little sighthounds that look a lot like the much larger standard greyhound breed, but in miniature!

Italian greyhounds are very loving, affectionate little dogs that like nothing more than cuddling up on the sofa for a snooze, and although they are very fast on their feet and do like to play and run around, they are by no means as hard to keep fit and entertained as many people assume them to be.

For people who love sighthounds but prefer a smaller dog, as well as those simply looking for an affectionate and fairly quiet toy dog, the Italian greyhound is certainly worth considering if you are looking for a new pet to join your family.

The breed also tends to be fairly long lived and healthy, although there is quite a long list of hereditary health conditions that can affect individual dogs of the breed. Not all of these conditions are hugely common or prevalent within the breed as a whole, and many only affect a very small proportion of dogs; one such condition is called familial enamel hypoplasia, also sometimes known as amelogenesis imperfecta.

Familial enamel hypoplasia is a condition that affects the dog’s tooth enamel, which leads to a range of dental defects and problems that usually become apparent in affected dogs from an early age.

Familial enamel hypoplasia or amelogenesis imperfecta in the Italian greyhound is not, as mentioned, among the most common of hereditary health conditions faced by dogs of the breed within the UK. However, within the breed in the USA and Canada, it is quite widespread, with the latest figures indicating that 30% of American/Canadian dogs carry the condition, and 14% are affected by it.

In this article we will look at familial enamel hypoplasia in the Italian greyhound dog breed, explaining the effects that the condition has, how it is passed from dog to dog, and how you can find out the status of your own dog if you own an Italian greyhound. Read on to learn more about familial enamel hypoplasia in Italian greyhounds.

What is familial enamel hypoplasia or amelogenesis imperfecta?

Amelogenesis imperfecta or familial enamel hypoplasia in the Italian greyhound is a hereditary disorder that occurs when a dog inherits a certain type of gene mutation from their parents. The condition affects the dog’s teeth; specifically, the tooth enamel, and results in affected dogs being unable to create healthy tooth enamel, and this leads to a wide range of dental problems developing.

Italian greyhounds with familial enamel hypoplasia often have poorly formed or misshapen teeth, which will tend to be ragged and rough and prone to damage and tooth decay, as well as thinning of the surfaces of the teeth and other signs of poor dental health such as brown or grey spots and patches developing on the teeth too.

Italian greyhound familial enamel hypoplasia affects both the dog’s baby teeth and later, their adult set as well. Generally, dogs with the condition will have unusual dentition from as soon as their adult teeth grow in, and the teeth are commonly abnormally small and uneven, with noticeable gaps between them that get progressively larger as the dog ages and their teeth further break down.

How is Italian greyhound familial enamel hypoplasia passed on from dog to dog?

Familial enamel hypoplasia or amelogenesis imperfecta in the Italian greyhound is passed on from parent dogs to their young by means of autosomal recessive heredity. This means that in order to know the status of any litter of puppies (or the potential litter produced from any given mating match) you first need to know the status of their parent dogs.

  • Two clear parent dogs will have a totally clear litter.
  • Two affected parent dogs will have a litter that will all be affected with familial enamel hypoplasia.
  • Two carrier parent dogs will have a litter within which each pup has a 50% chance of being a carrier, a 25% chance of being affected, and a 25% chance of being clear.
  • A clear dog and an affected dog will produce a litter of carriers.
  • A clear dog and a carrier will produce a litter of 50% clear and 50% carriers.
  • An affected dog and a carrier will produce a litter of 50% affected and 50% carrier pups.

DNA testing for familial enamel hypoplasia in Italian greyhounds

If there is a history of familial enamel hypoplasia within an Italian greyhound breed line or if a breeder is considering purchasing a dog imported from abroad to breed from (or using the services of a stud dog from outside of the UK), it is worth getting dogs of the breed tested before deciding upon a mating match.

Risk factors for familial enamel hypoplasia in the Italian greyhound can be identified with a simple DNA test, and you just need to ask your vet to take a DNA sample from your dog to get them tested.

The sample is couriered to a special approved veterinary DNA laboratory, who test it and then return a result of the dog’s status. Both dogs in any given mating match need to be tested prior to breeding in order to determine the status of their litter.


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