Active and playful, Labrador Retrievers are healthy dogs. However, with age, lack of daily exercise, the absence of proper diet and nutrition, and environmental changes, a Lab is likely to acquire various health problems. There are also certain breed specific issues that impact the health of these dogs. Your awareness about common health problems in Labradors is key to keep your pet hale and hearty.
Acute Moist Dermatitis
Acute Moist Dermatitis is also known as “hot spots.” A skin problem, it is usually caused by allergens and bacterial infections. The problem is common in longhaired dogs or dogs with dense undercoats, such as Labrador Retrievers. Hot spots or circular patches of red skin appear throughout your Labrador’s body when he has acute moist dermatitis. Vets usually prescribe antibiotics and medicated shampoo to help treat this skin condition.
Labrador Retrievers love swimming and always eager to play in the water. This puts them at the risk of allowing water to enter their ears. With their floppy ears, there is a higher chance of water getting inside the ears and retaining there. It doubles their chances of developing an ear infection. Symptoms of ear infection in Labradors include discharge and foul smell in the ear. Infected ears may also turn reddish. When your Labrador develops an ear infection, he may start shaking his head and scratching his ears frequently. To prevent your Labrador from getting an ear infection, always clean and dry your Labrador’s ear after he returns from swimming.
Cold Water Tail
A condition that is more common in water-loving and hunting dogs, such as Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers, it is also called limber tail or swimmer’s tail or broken tail syndrome. This affects a dog within 24 hours of swimming in cold waters. If your Lab has any degenerative disk changes, the problem becomes more acute.
The dog experiences pain at the base of the tail, which turns flaccid and drops vertically. Affected dog do not wag their tail, as they feel the pinch of pain. Cold water tails usually happen after a long day of swimming, hunting, or other activities that entail lots of tail work. The good thing is that the condition goes away on its own after just a few days.
Although multifactorial, hip dysplasia is an inherited health problem in your dog. Labradors with hip dysplasia may show symptoms, such as lameness in their hind legs, trouble standing up, whining, and sluggish when walking. Depending on the severity of the condition, dogs with this problem are prescribed medications and therapies to ease the discomfort. Surgery is the only viable option in extreme cases. However, proper nutrition can help prevent this condition from developing.
Labradors inherit cataracts from their parents. This is usually a hereditary eye disease that develops with the age. Eyes with cataracts have a cloudy spot that grows slowly over time – eventually impairing the dog’s vision. The good news is cataracts can be treated and even be removed with surgery.
Epilepsy is also one of the most common health problems in Labradors. It can be caused by different issues such as consumption or exposure to toxins, head injuries, tumors, metabolic disorders, and more. If your Labrador has seizures, only the veterinarian can determine and find the source of the trigger by doing tests. It is a heartbreaking for any dog owner to see his dog suffering from epilepsy. However, the problem can be treated and minimized with medication and alternative ways depending on the source of the trigger.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
A serious eye disorder, progressive retinal atrophy results in a condition that causes gradual deterioration of a dog’s retina. Dogs suffering from this eye problem may have night blindness and gradual loss of vision. With progression, it may lead to complete loss of eyesight. The thought of your Labrador losing his eyesight may be depressing. However, you can help your dog adjust to the loss of vision using their other senses.
Ensure you check the genetic disorder risk of a puppy while buying. Ask for career screening reports of his parents. Make sure the parents have no bone or joint issues. Regular checkup, proper diet, and effective care are key to avoiding common health problems in Labradors.