There's no denying that Salukis are stunning dogs and being one of the oldest breeds on the planet, they boast a fascinating ancestry and history. Thought to be a gift from Allah, Salukis are fast on their feet and sleek with it. They are known to be loyal and devoted to the people they love although you would not want to trust them too much off their leads, simply because they boast such high prey drives. With this said, Salukis are quite challenging to train which in short means they are not the best choice of dogs for first-time owners.
Like so many other pedigree dogs, the Saluki is known to suffer from quite a few health disorders, some of which are acquired whereas others are genetically inherited conditions that parent dogs pass on to their offspring. One of the major health concerns seen in the breed affects their hearts called mitral valve disease. With this said Salukis are also prone to suffer from cardiomyopathy as well as cardiac haemangiosarcoma which is a cancer of the heart. Both conditions are genetic disorders and sadly it's estimated that around 30% of Salukis develop one or other of the conditions during the course of their lives. In other breeds, the figure stands dramatically lower at around 1%.
Apart from the heart disorders mentioned above, studies have established that Salukis are also more prone to other abnormalities of the heart which includes developing murmurs, enlarged hearts and irregular heartbeats which is why it's so important for them to be taken along the vet on a regular basis to be checked out. Failure to do so could result in a dog suffering total heart failure which can come on so suddenly and without any warning leaving their owners mystified as to what is wrong with their pets.
Much like in Greyhounds, the Saluki is ultra-sensitive to many drugs and in particular many commonly used anaesthetics. This sensitivity is all due to the fact they have such little body fat and it can make it very challenging for vets when they need to treat them. Vets would need to follow a specific protocol all the while closely monitoring a dog when they are undergoing any sort of treatment or more invasive surgery.
If you are hoping to share your home with a Saluki and would like to get a puppy, it's very important that you contact a reputable breeder who only uses healthy dogs that they have been tested for any genetic health disorders before using them in any breeding programme. This greatly reduces the risk of any of their offspring inheriting any hereditary health issues although it's important to bear in mind that many disorders can skip a few generations. In short, no matter how well-bred a Saluki might be, there is no guarantee they won't develop a genetically inherited heart condition. However, good breeding does reduce the chances of this happening.
If a person suffers from a leaky valve in their hearts, a surgeon would be able to replace the valve to correct the issue. Sadly, when it comes to dogs this is not an option, but the good news is that with the huge advancement in veterinary medicines, vets now have several drugs at their disposal to treat many heart conditions including leaky valves. However, while treating your dog's heart condition, the vet would also need to administer specific drugs that support other vital internal organs. The vet would also need to give them certain diuretics to make sure their kidneys continue to process all the toxins that pass through their bodies preventing any dangerous build-ups.
Salukis with heart conditions also need to be fed a low sodium (salt) diet which helps prevent the chance of their bodies retaining too much excess fluid. Once a vet has diagnosed a dog with the condition, they would typically recommend a diet for them to be put on which could be for the rest of their lives.
The Saluki is a lovely dog and although they can be quite challenging to train, the breed is known to be incredibly loyal to the people they love. Like so many other pedigree dogs, they suffer from quite a few health issues some of which are inherited from their parents whereas others are acquired during the course of their lifetimes. Some of the biggest health concerns seen in the breed affects their hearts which if left untreated can lead to total congestive heart failure. Owners are left mystified when their pets suddenly fall ill and die without warning only to find they were suffering from a heart condition for a long time but it was never diagnosed simply because there were no obvious clinical signs of there being something wrong. This is why it’s so important for Salukis to have their hearts regularly checked by the vet to make sure they are functioning properly and if not, they would recommend a treatment.