Gavin Goble – General Manager Greyhound Welfare and Re-homing
Mandatory vaccinations for greyhounds (new rule)
The greyhound Code of Practice requires all adult greyhounds to have a current C5 vaccination and the new national rule (GAR 25) implemented on 1 May 2022 also has the same requirement. Please see https://greyhoundcare.grv.org.au/rules-of-racing for more information on GAR 25 and the accompanying FAQs.
A “current C5” for an adult greyhound usually means a C3 (parvovirus, distemper and hepatitis) every three years and a Kennel Cough every 12 months. However, vaccination requirements for acceptance into GAP are more specific, so please check with GRV if you are planning to get a vaccination for this purpose. Also see https://gap.grv.org.au/about-gap/intake-model/ for the requirements.
Please speak to your veterinarian about when your greyhounds are next due for a vaccination. Kennel Cough is the infectious disease of most concern in the greyhound industry. GRV recommends that the Kennel Cough vaccine is an intranasal rather than injectable, because it is more effective with a single dose and is the Kennel Cough vaccine required by GAP. You will need to record your greyhound’s adult vaccinations in its Greyhound Record (paper-based, electronic or FastTrack).
Barking muzzles (new rule)
A new national rule (GAR 30) implemented on 1 May 2022 addresses the use of Barking Muzzles. For Victoria, the rule means that the use of barking muzzles is banned except under circumstances approved by GRV. GRV has written a policy that describes what these approved circumstances are. Please see https://greyhoundcare.grv.org.au/rules-of-racing for more information on GAR 30, the policy (and guidelines) and the accompanying FAQs. In summary:
- GRV intends to phase barking muzzles out completely
- In the interim, GRV will allow only certain types of barking muzzles to be continued to be used and only under limited circumstances (see below)
- Participants will have 3 months (until 31 July 2022) to familiarise themselves with the policy
- All barking muzzles will be banned at the track and during transport from 1 August 2022
- Barking muzzles that completely close the greyhound’s mouth will be banned from 1 August 2022 and cannot be used anytime and anywhere
- A barking muzzle that does not completely close the greyhound’s mouth will be allowed to be used if:
- it is appropriately sized and properly fitted so as not to cause pain, injury or distress; and
- it is strictly used in limited circumstances and as part of an approved and documented retraining or behavioural modification program for a specific greyhound (more details in the policy)
New rehoming rules
Two new local rules (LR 12 & 13) were implemented on 1 May 2022 which replace LR 42.6 and address rehoming obligations and the rehoming of greyhounds into “appropriate” homes. The rules are underpinned by a Rehoming Policy and Guidelines. Please see https://greyhoundcare.grv.org.au/rules-of-racing for more information on LR 12 & 13, the policy/guidelines and the accompanying FAQs. In summary:
- The policy defines what an appropriate home is and is not
- If the greyhound has a serious medical condition or injury such that immediate euthanasia is the most appropriate course of action, no Notice of Intention to Euthanase (NOI) is required (no change from LR 42.6); if in doubt about the seriousness of the medical condition or injury, please contact GRV prior to euthanasia
- The requirement to submit a NOI has changed for behavioural conditions, including greyhounds that have failed GAP (more information in the FAQs); if you would like more information, or to discuss a particular greyhound, please contact GRV prior to euthanasia
- A euthanasia certificate is required in every case (no change from LR 42.6)
Please note that it is an offence under both the Code of Practice and the rules of racing to surrender a greyhound to a council pound. This includes a shelter that provides contracted pound services to the local government area of any of the greyhound’s connections (owner or trainer).
Mandatory desexing for greyhounds (new rule)
The greyhound Code of Practice requires greyhounds being rehomed, to be desexed prior to leaving the greyhound establishment, unless the new owner agrees in writing to desex the greyhound. However, the new national rule (GAR 24) implemented on 1 May 2022 requires a greyhound being rehomed, to be desexed before leaving the care and custody of the participant. Please see https://greyhoundcare.grv.org.au/rules-of-racing for a copy of the national rules. This means if the greyhound is being rehomed to a person (e.g. member of the public) the greyhound must be desexed prior to rehoming. If the greyhound is being surrendered to a rehoming organisation (including GAP), that agrees in writing to desex the greyhound, the greyhound does not need to be desexed prior to rehoming to comply with GAR 24. However, most rehoming groups (except GAP) will require the greyhound to be desexed or at least be booked in for desexing under the GRV Desexing and Dental Scheme (DDS). Some may give a priority for desexed greyhounds.
GRV’s DDS (see https://greyhoundcare.grv.org.au/rehoming/desexing-and-dental-scheme/) will cover the entire cost of both desexing and dental treatment in most cases.
GRV strongly recommends desexing prior to a GAP pre-entry assessment (preferably at least several weeks prior) and this should also include a full dental. In addition to priority entry into GAP (see below), advantages of desexing include:
- The potential to increase the likelihood of the greyhound passing its assessment; and
- In the case of females, it avoids the situation of her coming into season at the last minute and not being able to attend the assessment; and
- Greyhounds arriving at GAP desexed can be adopted quicker (if teeth are in good condition) which benefits participants by GAP being able to accept more greyhounds more quickly and reduce waiting times.
Greyhound Recovery Initiative (GRI) and Rehabilitation Grant
On 1 April 2022 GRV made significant improvements to the GRI in terms of available funding. Just a reminder that greyhounds who are eligible for the GRI may, in addition to financial support for veterinary costs, also be eligible for the GRI rehabilitation grant which is paid directly to the participant to support recovery from the injury (it can also be used for additional veterinary costs). As part of the changes on 1 April, additional funds are available if you choose to pay someone else to rehabilitate your greyhound, including a rehabilitation facility. Instead of having to apply for the Rehabilitation Grant, GRV will be contacting the racing owner once GRV as received the necessary documentation. For more information on the scheme (especially the changes), please speak to your OTV (if you are on-track), contact the GRV Welfare department or visit https://greyhoundcare.grv.org.au/greyhound-recovery-initiative/.
Steward’s Order for Follow-up Veterinary Consultation
When a greyhound sustains a significant injury on-track, the Steward may issue a written order, to the trainer or participant-in-charge of the greyhound, requiring the participant to seek off-track veterinary treatment according to the timeframe stated by the On-Track Veterinarian (OTV); either same day, next day or within three days.
It is critical that the participant:
- sees the off-track veterinarian within the required timeframe; and
- gets the off-track veterinarian to sign the bottom of the order form; and
- emails a photo or scan of the completed form to [email protected]
It is the participant’s responsibility to comply with the order so please do not leave the order form with the veterinarian for them to return to GRV because commonly it does not get returned to GRV in time.
Industry participants have recently asked about providing greyhounds with a drink in their kennel post-race. The GRV Swab Policy (Sep 2019) and available at https://greyhoundcare.grv.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Swab-Sampling-Policy-and-Procedures-GRV-Effective-1-Sep-2019.pdf states that “For post-race samples, it is advisable that the greyhound have a drink of water before being locked away. This drink is to be taken at the regular wash bay using a regular hose and tap. No other drink, medications, supplements or edibles can be given to the greyhound at this point, except that a clean bowl of water can be provided in the kennel post-race (provided by the trainer and at the trainer’s own risk), having been appropriately rinsed and then filled from a regular tap in view of the Steward.” This means greyhounds being put away into a kennel after their race (whether being swabbed or not) can have a clean bowl of fresh tap water placed in their kennel, but they are not allowed electrolytes, other fluids, powders etc.
GAP bookings and priority for desexed greyhounds
This is a reminder that desexed greyhounds on the GAP waiting list (i.e. those not yet allocated a date/time) are given priority into new slots over un-desexed (entire) greyhounds. However, FastTrack must have your greyhound recorded as desexed for the priority system to work so it is worth checking with Racing Services that your greyhound is recorded on FastTrack as desexed when you first book your greyhound on the waiting list or if your greyhound is on the waiting list and you have just had it desexed. If you have a desexing certificate, please email it to [email protected] so we can update FastTrack for you. Please do not assume that GRV has received a certificate from your veterinarian – even if it went through the GRV Desexing and Dental Scheme.
Now that there are more greyhounds being desexed prior to GAP pre-entry, GRV now has enough data to confirm that desexed greyhounds in the 2021-22 year had a higher pass rate at pre-entry assessment.
In addition to desexing and dental treatment, participants can assist greatly by having their greyhounds as “adoption ready” as possible before PEA, which will also maximise the chances of the greyhound passing the assessment. This includes ensuring greyhounds are used to being around small dogs and other people; and ensuring medical issues (including previous injuries) are resolved.
If your greyhound is on the waiting list, you can use the waiting time to further prepare the greyhound for rehoming, including desexing and dental treatment, and ongoing handling and socialisation (which will increase the chances of the greyhound passing the assessment). You can try contacting other rehoming groups but be aware they also currently have waiting lists and will generally require desexing prior to acceptance. GAP also offers PetCheck behaviour assessments to greyhounds on the waiting list (very similar to a PEA except GAP will not take the greyhound on the day if it passes). This will be useful to provide some certainty about the greyhound’s behaviour and, if you are opting to rehome the greyhound privately, to help you better place the greyhound in the right home. If you would like to have a PetCheck for your greyhound, please ring Carly at GAP on 03 5799 0166 to discuss and book it in. The plan is to offer slots at the end of the PEA sessions. To be eligible, your greyhound will need to be on the PEA waiting list and vaccinated as per the requirements for GAP (to protect the GAP helper dogs).
For more information see https://gap.grv.org.au/about-gap/intake-model/.