Reminder: The selected responses presented below are a reflection of the collaborative effort of Hybrid Wolf Mailing List aka. Wolfdoglist members to share opinions / information about wolf x dogs, responsible "ownership" and breeding practices. This FAQ is not a scientific or veterinary resource. Some responses have been edited for brevity.
Wolfdog FAQ - Question # 29
Are there any reasons why I should tell the Veterinarian my new puppy is a wolfdog ?
There are many factors involved before making this decision.
The legality of ownership in your State, County, City or town of wolves or wolf content animals; the "wolfy" appearance of your animal, if present; whether you wish for a vet that is experienced with wolfdogs, which can be found out on the PHONE rather than in person; your own preference; safety of your animal.
Those aren't all considerations but are a few to ponder. Even if the legality of your location is in favor of wolfdogs at this time, that can change with the passage of laws or by interpretation of existing laws.
Informing your vet or anyone else as to what your animal actually is can be a hard decision to make. Each person must choose for themselves, based on their own circumstances. The important part, IMO, is that the animal be the first consideration by a responsible owner.
Because the meds and treatments are the same, I see no reason not to tell the vet the wd puppy is a mixed breed. He is, after all. Very, very important, though, whatever the vet is told, is to be sure the "w" word does not appear on any written records.
Yes, especially if your new pup has a lot of wolf in it. Wolves can be more sensitive to some medications, especially anesthesia. (At Wolf Park we find our wolves need about half the dose of a dog of equal weight - a Full dose would likely kill them!). I feel honesty with the vet is important.
If you live in an area where owning a wolfdog is illegal, or can't find a vet who isn't adamantly opposed to wolfdog ownership, maybe you should reconsider your choice of pet.
If you have a high content wolfdog, you'll probably need to tell your vet that he is part wolf. Denying it outright will simply cause you to lose your credibility with the vet, who has seen many breeds of dog and will not buy your story that "Thunder is an Alaskan husky/Belgian Terv cross". Worst case scenario is that you could be accused of (illegally) keeping a wolf. Low contents can easily pass for Mal X or GSD X in most cases [as that is what they are trutfully].
However, do NOT let the vet (or anyone else) put "wolf hybrid" on his paperwork. You will need to find a vet who is willing to list him as a dog, so that he will be issued a rabies certificate.
Many vets do not know much about wolfdogs (they still insist on calling them hybrids), are afraid of them, and there are legal ramifications to having a canine classified as a wolfdog.
For instance, in Maine, if one should bite or be accused of biting, it is to be euthanized, its head removed from the body and the owner is responsible for taking it to the State's Lab in Augusta, and thereafter responsible for the fees involved in testing.
I tell all of the persons who buy pups from me this information, and let them decide for themselves what to do- most have chosen to acknowledge the "other" portions of their animals heritage both with their vet and town officials. My choice was to tell the town and the State exactly what I have, and be licensed. My vets (all 5 of them) know what they are also. But, I do not have small children, or grandchildren, have extremely secure enclosures and animals that think that they have a God given right to live indoors. We live on a large parcel of land, and the kennel and house are in the center.... ie, they are pretty safe from the world.
In my case I wouldn't tell them. They know but they found out from the staff after they bought the practice. I know here it is suppose to be disclosed but with the ignorance around I prefer to keep to myself. I feel the vet should know more than I do.
I've done it both ways. In the past, when I didn't realize the potential consequences I told, and even later when I did, I told because I traveled constantly and figured the law wouldn't know who to ask for my vet records. And I've needed rabies tags to cross borders into Canada and Mexico. Now I'm stationary in one area, where WDs are currently legal where I live but illegal one town over and in several other surrounding towns.
In the past I've said shepherd mix so he could get a rabies shot but all prior treatment has just been routine shots and heartworm stuff. Now I've made an appointment for neutering and wasn't comfortable not telling before a surgical procedure since some literature I've read says wolfdogs may require less anethesia than dogs and there is a potential for overdose. Before I told I called anonymously and asked if he treated wolfdogs, and after some hesitation he said he did. When I questioned him on his experience in treating wolf dogs, he seemed very guarded in his answers, but I got the impression he had worked with a number of them, although he didn't really say if he had any current wolfdog patients. I thought about it a few more days and called again and came right out and asked if he had a problem with listing a wolf dog as a mixed breed dog on the paper work. His attitude was much more open on the second call and he said he had no problem doing that, "after all a german shepard/wolf could also accurately be described as a german shepard mix" is the way he put it. (Sound familiar?) So I went ahead and gave my name and made the appointment.
If my animal were seriously ill or it was an emergency, I wouldn't hesitate to lie to get him treatment if that were the only way to do it, but I prefer to tell. I am just more comfortable with that. You can always make anonymous phone calls and ask around to other people you may know who have them. Usually within an hours drive of someone's home there are several vets to screen, before there is an emergency, so you are ready if that situation should arise unexpectedly.
Also, I want to know if a vet has any experience with the type of animal of mine he is going to be treating, and I understand vet schools don't teach much about wolves or wolfdogs. If I'm going to ask him 40 questions about wolfdogs, I think it will just look stupid to insist I don't have one. But I guess that is just my upbringing, we were always taught to be honest and that a lie by omission is still a lie. Then again if it means you have to look stupid or tell lies to keep your fur butt safe, I guess it might be worth it.
I think it just boils down to what the individual is comfortable with and what their morals will allow. In my opinion the best thing is to deal with the containment issues and make sure your animal doesn't get into a situation where the vet records will get scrutinized to begin with.
Wolfdogs as a group are no more disposed to having trouble with medications/vaccinations or tranquilizers/sedatives/anesthesia than the dog breed(s) involved in the mix.
Some sources say there is a risk of loosing the patient (a wolf or wolfdog) under anesthesia if it is not known beforehand what the animal is. That is absolute bull ! Any Veterinarian or Vet Tech worth their salt knows to monitor each individual patient's vitals when under anesthesia. And they know that before even considering the patient as a candidate for surgery, before pre-meds are injected and long before the animal is maintained on gas anesthetic, that animal needs to be evaluated. If not stable or if the animal is known to have seizures or is particularly stressed/exciteable or sensitive to certain drugs, the professional will adapt and adjust to the needs of the patient.
Of course it is important to know if the animal is primarily a German Shepherd mix as opposed to a Siberian Husky mix. Breed-specific health problems are an important consideration to Veterinarians, but there are no wolf-specific diseases or problems that are not seen in dogs also. Remember, wolves and dogs are the same species after all.
See also, "Is Veterinary care any different for wolfdogs than it is for plain 'ol dogs?", as well as "Do "higher contents" require different vaccination shots than "lower content" wolfdogs?" for more information.
See Copyright information on main FAQ listings page.
Go to the top of the page