Labrador Retrievers are well known as the most active, fun, and playful dogs that are loyal to their loved ones. They’re a reason why they are one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States!
Besides this, they are fairly low maintenance breeds, requiring less care and attention compared to others. With that in mind, this dog breed is still prone to a few health issues that you should prepare for.
Read on to find out the different Labrador Retriever health problems to know what you can do to prevent it from happening to your pet.
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Labrador Retriever Health Problems
Labrador Retrievers have been around since the 1800s, becoming the most popular breed for their sweet nature. To keep them healthy, here are 9 of the common health concerns they may come across:
1. Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Labradors are more prone to joint problems like hip and elbow dysplasia, which affects the joints and causes pain. This has it more difficult for your Lab to move as it would normally, as it causes pain, leading to conditions like arthritis or immobility.
Usually, this condition occurs in senior dogs, though it may be an issue in Labs as young as 5 months old! If your Lab has it, you can use pain-relieving medication to relieve the symptoms and have him exercise with non-weight-bearing exercises such as swimming, which helps in mobility and easing discomfort.
2. Laryngeal Paralysis
This is a condition caused by the change in muscles within or surrounding the Lab’s larynx. This would cause impairment or restriction of the airflow through the larynx. The common signs are changes in your dog’s bark, breathing noises, coughing, and/or exercise intolerance.
Around 20% of adult dogs have a form of arthritis, which is more common in obese dogs. The most common type is osteoarthritis, caused by damaged cartilage. The signs include limping, sensitivity to damp and cold weather, stiffness, avoiding activities, or moving away when being touched. While there is no cure, there are medications and treatments to ease the pain.
This is an endocrine disorder resulting in lower production and release of T3 and T4 hormones in the Lab’s thyroid gland. The typical signs would include weight gain, lethargy, hair loss, and cold intolerance. The condition is diagnosed through blood testing.
Labs can be treated for this condition through medical therapy, using synthetic hormones to replace the lack of adequate production and release of adequate thyroid hormones.
Cancer is actually the first natural cause of death in both cats and dogs, accounting for almost 50% of pet deaths yearly. While scary, the advancements in the vet industry have introduced new therapies and treatments. Furthermore, watching out for the signs and symptoms is recommended, as the sooner cancer will be detected, the sooner it can be treated for a higher chance of survival.
The most common cancers in Labrador Retrievers include lymphoma, mast cell tumors, and osteosarcoma (bone cancer). The common signs you should watch out for are abnormal swellings that grow, strange discharges or bleeding, difficulty in breathing and relieving himself, difficulty eating or loss of appetite, lethargy, limping, loss of stamina, along with weight loss, and the presence of sores that don’t heal.
6. Heart Disease
Yes, heart disease is common in Labradors, particularly in senior Labs. The most common one is Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia, a congenital condition that usually affects male Labs, present at birth.
Even healthy Labs can develop heart diseases, so make sure their vaccinations are updated and that they have a healthy diet with a lot of exercises. If they do have TVD or other heart conditions, it can be maintained with medication and treatments.
It may seem cute having a chubby Labrador, but obesity can be quite a health issue, just like in humans. We want to keep feeding our Labs to have them gain weight, and sometimes, we tend to give them a lot more when they beg for treats!
This can lead to all sorts of complications, especially when they reach a point where they can’t move around as they did before. Fortunately, this is easy to treat with a controlled diet and regular exercise.
8. Ear Infections
Labradors have long and floppy ears, which look adorable but can cover your dog’s ear canals. This can trap warm and moist air, which is the optimal breeding ground for bacteria and infections.
You will know if they have an infection if they are shaking their heads and pawing at their ears a lot. You may also notice bad odor, redness, and/or discharge, which are the signs of an ear infection. Prevent ear infections from happening by keeping your dog’s ears clean and dry all the time, and keeping them clear from any excessive hairs.
Read more: How to Treat Dog Ear Infections Naturally
9. Swim or Cold Water Tail
Swim Tail is also known as cold water tail. Being natural swimmers, Labrador Retrievers would use their tails as rudders and/or stabilizers when in the water. If overused, the tail can become swollen or sore, with a bit of a kink! It can also happen when performing other strenuous activities, after cold baths, or even if they wag their tail a LOT.
This is very uncomfortable but fortunately, not a serious condition and can be treated with rest and, sometimes, anti-inflammatory medication for pain relief.
Wrapping It Up
Many health issues affect dogs, with a few hundred of them being genetic, depending on the breed they are. Labrador Retrievers are no exception, which is why it’s best to know about these issues and prepare beforehand.
Hopefully, this list of Labrador Retriever health problems gave insight on their health, as well as what can be done to keep them healthy and free from such issues. Keep these points in mind and follow the right tips so you have a happy lab now!