Labrador retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds due to their playful, easygoing attitude. They are known for being gentle and eager to please, therefore great family dogs. However, like all dogs, Labradors are prone to certain health issues. Here are seven health problems that commonly affect labradors.
Health issues for Labrador retriever
Hip dysplasia occurs when the thigh bone no longer fits securely in the hip joint. This can cause pain and lameness, but X-rays are needed to confirm this condition. Hip dysplasia is an extremely common problem in dogs of all sizes, so it’s particularly important for Labradors to maintain a healthy weight.
Labradors should be assessed for this condition when they’re around a year old, and X-rays should be taken annually to monitor their hips as they get older. It’s also important for labradors who are at high risk of hip dysplasia (such as those with close relatives who have suffered from the condition) to be neutered or spayed at an early age.
Labradors are known for being particularly prone to obesity, and this can lead to a range of health problems, such as joint pain, respiratory difficulties, and even diabetes. It’s important to keep your Labrador in shape by ensuring that they get plenty of exercises and by monitoring their diet.
Labradors should be fed twice a day, and it’s recommended that they never eat more than about 5% of their body weight in one sitting. Labradors should also receive at least an hour of exercise every day. Obesity is such a big problem for labradors that some owners have been known to use a treadmill for dogs
Cataracts are common in dogs of all kinds, but Labradors seem particularly prone to developing this eye problem. In fact, cataract surgery is one of the most performed surgeries on Labradors. Symptoms of cataracts include a cloudy appearance in the eyes, sensitivity to light, and changes in pupil size.
Labradors should have their eyesight checked by a vet at least once a year, and any signs of cataracts should be treated as soon as possible. Cataracts can lead to blindness if left untreated.
Elbow dysplasia is a condition that affects the bones of your Labrador’s elbow, and it can lead to pain and lameness. It usually appears when dogs are 6 to 9 months old. Labradors don’t usually show any symptoms unless they get worse over time, so it’s important to have your dog’s elbows X-rayed at least once a year.
Elbow dysplasia can be treated with surgery, but it’s often best to try conservative treatments (such as physical therapy and pain relief medications) first.
Gastric dilatation volvulus
Gastric dilatation-volvulus, or GDV, is a life-threatening condition that affects Labradors and other breeds of large dogs. It occurs when the stomach twists on its axis, trapping food and gas inside and preventing them from being expelled. This can lead to serious health problems, including shock, organ damage, and even death.
Labradors are at high risk of GDV because of their deep chest, so it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of this condition. If you think your dog might have GDV, take them to the vet immediately.
Ear infections are common in Labradors, and they can be caused by a number of factors, including allergies to food or other substances. Labradors with long floppy ears are especially prone to ear infections because they allow earwax and dirt to build up easily. Symptoms include brown (or bloody) discharge from the ear, stinky smell, head shaking, and trouble hearing.
Labradors should have their ears checked by a vet at least once a year, and any signs of infection should be treated immediately to prevent the problem from getting worse.
Cancer is relatively rare in labs, but it does happen occasionally, especially when Labradors get older (most cases of cancer in labs occur when they are over 10 years old). Symptoms of cancer vary depending on the type of cancer but can include swelling or lumps in the body, weight loss, changes in behavior, and difficulty breathing.
If you think your Labrador might have cancer, take them to the vet as soon as possible.