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Afghan Hound

The Afghan Hound is one of the oldest breeds and has been around since ancient times, as hunters and guard dogs in the Afghanistan mountains. They belong to the “sighthound” family, meaning they rely on their sight and speed to hunt, rather than their sense of smell.

Caring for Your Afghan Hound

Afghan Hounds are known for their long flowing haircoat. However, it is a lot of work to maintain their glamorous looks with daily brushing and regular baths. They are active dogs who need regular exercise, but they also have a strong prey drive and may run off if not on a leash. Afghans have an aloof personality with strangers, but once they have accepted a person, they are quite loyal.

Common Health Issues in Afghan Hounds

Cataracts: A cataract is an opacity in the lens of the eye. The cataract can be very small and have minimal effect on vision, encompass the entire lens causing blindness, or anywhere along the spectrum. Afghans develop hereditary cataracts, meaning inherited from their parents. Because it is a recessive trait, parents can be carriers of the trait but not have cataracts themselves. Before purchasing an Afghan puppy, ask your breeder if they have regular CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) exams to look for the presence of cataracts in their eyes.

Gastric Dilation and Volvulus (GDV): A GDV, or bloat, occurs when the stomach fills with air and twists. This causes severe shock and leads to death without treatment. Even with immediate and excellent treatment, some dogs won’t survive.  Afghan hounds are deep-chested dogs, creating more space in the abdominal cavity so that bloat is more likely.

Chylothorax: Although rare, Afghan Hounds are more likely to develop idiopathic chylothorax. Chylothorax occurs when a fatty lymph fluid drains out of a vessel in the chest (thoracic duct) and accumulates in the chest. As the fluid accumulates, the dog has a harder time breathing.

Anesthesia Considerations: Most sighthounds, including Afghans, have a leaner body mass than other breeds. With less fat to absorb medications, sighthounds are more sensitive to anesthesia drugs and may require a lower dose than other breeds of a similar weight. They are also more likely to develop hypothermia under anesthesia, making it harder for the body to break down the anesthesia.

Nutrition for Afghan Hounds

There are no specific nutritional requirements for Afghan Hounds. A well-balanced commercial pet food should be adequate as long as your pet is healthy. Raised food and water bowls reduce the amount of air swallowed when eating and may help reduce the risk of your dog developing a GDV.

Pet Health Insurance for Your Afghan Hound

If you are looking for pet health insurance for your Afghan Hound, you should ensure that many health issues that are commonly seen in Afghan Hounds are covered. You will also want to find insurance with short waiting times for treatment and surgery. If you prolong these procedures, your dog could have permanent health issues.

Many times, certain health conditions are considered genetic or are a pre-existing condition and they may not be covered for your Afghan Hound. 

You could also consider enrolling in Mint Wellness. This pet wellness plan includes membership in Pet Assure, a low-cost pet insurance alternative and veterinary discount plan. This plan has no exclusions due to age, breed, or hereditary conditions. Even pre-existing conditions are covered! Get a quote today. It's perfect for an Afghan Hound.

Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Shepherd, DVM


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