The Kennel Club: Statement on Whippet Heart Health

Statement on Whippet Hearts that has been produced by The Kennel Club and approved by their consultant cardiologists.

The Whippet Breed Clubs and members of the Veterinary Cardiovascular Society (VCS) have become aware of an apparent increase in the incidence of pulmonic stenosis within the breed, in the UK. Pulmonic stenosis is a congenital (from birth) disease, where the pulmonic valve is malformed and obstructs blood flow from the right side of the heart to the lungs. It varies in severity and clinical signs in affected dogs. Severely affected dogs are at risk of sudden death and usually require surgery to reduce the severity of the stenosis. Given the number of cases identified in the UK, the identification of cases in siblings, and also what we already know about this condition in other breeds, it may be that pulmonic stenosis is inherited in Whippets. Mitral valve disease (usually an adult-onset condition) has been recognised in the breed for some time. There is currently no official heart testing scheme for Whippets in the UK, but current advice by the breed and Kennel Club Assured Breeders Scheme is that all breeding stock should be auscultated prior to breeding. Although murmurs due to pulmonic stenosis can also be detected by auscultation, the VCS recognises that physiological (innocent) murmurs are commonly identified in Whippets too, and it is challenging to differentiate all these murmur types without echocardiography, especially in young dogs. For identification of pulmonic stenosis in individuals, the VCS Breed Related Subcommittee recommends that any dog identified as having a murmur on auscultation should undergo Doppler echocardiography to determine its underlying cause. Owners looking to undertake heart screening in their dogs should contact the Whippet Breed Council to find a breed testing day near them, or visit the VCS website ( to find an accredited cardiologist. Results at this time are collated by the Breed Health Co-ordinator, which will be fed back to The Kennel Club and VCS to explore the possibility of developing a formal scheme for mitral valve disease and/or pulmonic stenosis in the breed in the future. Any questions should be directed to the Breed Health Co-ordinator Jo Whitehead at:

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