This post focuses largely only on the most common lab health problems, such as eye problems, nervous system problems, and joint problems (hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia), and these are basically the focus of this post. However, there are several others related to the circulatory system, and endocrine among other congenital diseases. The Labrador breed, better known as Labrador retriever or lab for short, is one of the several types of retrievers and is the most popular of all. However, its even temperament and active nature make this gundog a favorite of most human beings.
The Labrador is devoted, hardworking, playful, and above all, always loyal to its owner. Additionally, labs tend to be very patient with children making them the best companion and wonderful family dogs. Despite the fact that he barks protectively, he is not the best dog for a guard dog. Not all labs will encounter the common health problems that I’ll discuss below, but it’s important to keep in mind the fact that they are more predisposed to these health challenges. If you are planning on getting a Labrador retriever then you have a task in understanding the common health problems that may affect this particular dog breed.
Check out this lab health problem related to eyes:
These are juvenile cataracts also known as congenital cataracts and tend to cut across every dog breed. They only occur in puppies under six years old. Surgery may be possible though expensive.
This is an unusual development of the retina. Ideally, folds form within the outer layers of the retina. Sadly, there is still no treatment for this condition. Despite this, dogs have a unique ability to compensate any visual difficulties with acute senses of hearing and smell. Exercise your dog time and again, if he has this problem and try to keep his surroundings as constant as you can. Any gradual changes will worsen the situation.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
This combines some eye diseases which cause total destruction of the retina consequently leading to blindness. This usually begins with night blindness. You will know it when your dog suddenly doesn’t want to go out at night. Seek medical attention for your dog as soon as you notice that.
Labs are predisposed to the following joint-related health problems:
This health problem is genetic and is largely characterized by an unusual development of the hip joint. The typical symptoms are bunny hopping and limping. Treatment includes surgery or medical therapy.
This combines several congenital elbow diseases in dogs. Elbow joints are malformed, and cartilage or bone can be damaged which leads to osteoarthritis. You will know it when your dog begins displaying a front limb lameness of varying degrees. Surgery is the best treatment for this condition.
Hereditary Myopathy of Lab Retrievers:
This health problem is inherited and is characterized by progressive degeneration of your dog’s skeletal muscles. It usually tends to occur at 5 to 8 months of age. Your dog begins to show signs of exercise intolerance, bunny hops when running, collapses after brief exertions, and has problems lifting its heads up. The problem often stabilizes by 10-12 months of age and once again your puppy leads a normal life.
This involves recurring seizures and can be idiopathic—a condition that can be inherited. This one tends to begin at about 5 months and 5 years. Treatment involves the use of drugs such as potassium bromide and Phenobarbital to manage the severity and frequency of seizures.
Not all sudden behavioral changes indicate a health problem though health problems will in one way or another influence your dog’s behaviors. You will most likely tell a health problem when a playful dog suddenly goes completely inactive, quiet, and totally laid back. As far as labs are concerned, that should surely ring the bell that something is wrong! That’s your dog and well, his life, health, and wellbeing are largely in your hands and will depend on how promptly you act to set a sinking boat back on sail.