Monday, May 21, 2012

Health issues affecting Labrador retrievers

I love Labs. I live with five of them and have trained hundreds more. And this I know to be true: Labrador retrievers are insanely overbred in the U.S. The list of health issues impacting their longevity and quality of life keeps growing. And consider this: If you get a designer dog that includes the Labrador retriever in its bloodlines (like the Labradoodle), the same inherited health issues may occur.

Hip and elbow dysplasia is rampant in many large and giant breed dogs. Better breeding standards could eliminate it.
  • The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) grades canine hips and elbows based on radiographs (x-rays) supplied by your veterinarian.
  • The University of Pennsylvania's program - PennHip - provides a new way to evaluate a dog's hips. According to their website their methodology "is accurate in puppies as young as 16 weeks of age. It has great potential to lower the frequency of CHD when used as a selection criterion".

Centronuclear myopathy (CNM)
  • This is a recessive inherited muscular disease "characterized by early onset muscular problems such as awkward gait, fatigue, and difficulty eating. Affected puppies generally begin displaying these problems within a few months after birth".
Retinal Dysplasia (RD)/OculoSkeletal Dysplasia (OSD)
  •  A dog with RD can be a carrier of OSD. According to OptiGen, OSD is a "severe condition in which dogs show a variety of skeletal malformations, including shorted limbs (dwarfism) and blindness at an early age. The blindness results from a generalized malformation of the retina that causes a partial or full retinal detachment and cataracts."
Exercise Intolerance Collapse (EIC)
  • According to the University of Minnesota, "Affected dogs can tolerate mild to moderate exercise, but 5 to 20 minutes of strenuous exercise with extreme excitement induces weakness and then collapse. Severely affected dogs may collapse whenever they are exercised to this extent - other dogs only exhibit collapse sporadically".
  • According to their website, CERF is "Dedicated to the elimination of heritable eye disease in dogs through registration and research".
May you and your Labs live long, healthy, happy lives!
Woofs 'n wags from Dee & The Furkids

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