Many health problems in Labs can be inherited, that’s why health screening in Labradors –especially before breeding — is a must for responsible breeders.
Who can resist the endearing charm of our webbed-feet and otter-tailed buddies? Labrador puppies are undeniably the cutest baby animals there are!
Importance of Health Screening in Labradors Before Breeding
Aside from the irresistible charm they most likely got from their momma and papa, puppies can inherit genetic health issues too. That’s why responsible Labrador breeders opt to have their dogs screened for different health issues.
Even when a Labrador looks healthy, he or she might be a carrier for serious health conditions and diseases commonly found in the breed. By doing health screenings before breeding, Labrador breeders and enthusiasts get to:
- Help in ensuring that the future Labradors have lesser chance of developing genetic health issues – thus, further developing the breed;
- Ensure or increase the likeliness of the offspring/litter of pups they are producing to grow into healthy adults.
What are the Different Genetic Diseases Labradors Can Inherit?
Genetic defects can show in any no dog matter what the breed is. But the following genetic diseases are the ones considered common among Labradors.
Hip Dysplasia is common in Labradors and many other large dog breeds. Hip dysplasia is the abnormal formation of the ball and socket of your Labrador’s hip joint. This condition eventually leads to arthritis, which can be pretty painful for your Labrador.
When breeding, responsible breeders choose both parents with excellent hip scores to eradicate or lessen the chance of producing puppies that may develop this condition. So if you’re buying a Labrador puppy, it is important that you see the OFA certification to confirm if both the dam and the sire do not have hip issues.
Although less common compared to Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia is also one health issue Labradors can inherit. Elbow Dysplasia is actually a general term and there are 4 different elbow issues:
- Fragmented coronoid process (FCP)
- Osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD)
- Ununited anconeal process (UAP)
- Elbow incongruency.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Progressive Retinal Atrophy or PRA is condition Labradors can inherit. This condition affects the retina of the eyes and has two main types: retinal dysplasia and retinal degeneration.
While there is no way to know whether a puppy will be born with PRA or not, making sure that the parents of the puppy are not affected by this disease immensely reduces the risk.
Before breeding, the parent Labradors are examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist. The potential parents then will be registered by the CERF. They will also receive a certificate stating that they are clear of genetic health problems pertaining to the eyes.
Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia (TVD)
TVD is another disease Labradors can inherit from their parents. This disease pertains to the condition in which the tricuspid valve does not form correctly. This leads to issues with how the heart pumps blood effectively.
To lessen the risk of producing puppies with this condition, the potential parents must be cleared by a cardiologist veterinarian first.
Centronuclear Myopathy (CNM)
Centronuclear Myopathy is similar to muscular dystrophy in humans. This condition can be inherited by Labrador puppies from their parents. The condition results in loss of tendon reflexes, weight loss, exercise intolerance, and more.
To lessen the risk of producing puppies that may get this condition, owners of potential Labrador parents must be cleared of this genetic issue.
If you respect and love the Labrador breed, then it should be important for you to have your Labrador cleared from genetic diseases before breeding. This breeding practice will ensure the development and the future Labradors.
Remember, breeding must be done for the development of the Labrador breed and not solely for profit. There are millions of dogs stuck in shelters and breeding litter after litter just worsens the overpopulation of dogs. If you’re planning to get a Labrador pup, the best option is to check your local shelter or look for reputable breeders in your area. Never get a puppy from a pet store as most puppies sold in such stores come from puppy mills, whose owners do not care for the welfare of their dogs or the development of each breed.