Labrador Health Issues

by Nancy Boland

Labradors are popular breeds well known for being great with all the family. But like all breeds, they have their vulnerabilities. Knowing the health risks that affect your Labrador can make early detection and prevention easier, and keep him healthier for longer. Here are some common Labrador Health Issues:

Hip Dysplasia

Many large breeds are prone to an inherited disease called Hip Dysplasia, and Labradors are certainly no exception.  This disease causes abnormal formation of the hip joint, resulting in instability and arthritis. Pain and lameness ensue as the disease progresses leaving many unable to get around without chronic pain, or in some cases being completely disabled.

The good news is however that hip dysplasia can be treated by your vet with medication or injections. Surgery has also been successful in extreme cases. As always the sooner the problem is addressed and discussed with your vet, the less affected your Labrador will be and prevention is always the best option.

Labradors are also well known for liking their food so can become overweight easily, which will worsen the effects of Hip Dysplasia.

Ear Infections

 The  long, floppy ears of a Labrador, like many other dog breeds,  cover their ear canal, trapping warm, moist air. These conditions make the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and infection so its important to clean your Lab’s ears regularly. Use a simple cotton ball and suitable ear wash and gently scrub the inside of the ear flap, getting inside the folds and any hard to reach areas without irritating the ear canal. If you ever detect a foul odour from the ear or notice any discharge or unusual build-up, see your vet immediately as the usual cause is an infection and will need treatment as soon as possible.

 Swim Tail

 As natural swimmers, Labradors use their tails as rudders in the water. Excessive swimming and overuse of their tail can cause it  to become sore and swollen. A visible kink may even be seen in your Labradors tail. While uncomfortable for your lab, this is not a serious condition and usually corrects with rest. Sometimes a veterinarian will prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication for relief if the problem persists.

 Laryngeal Paralysis

 Common in middle-aged and senior Labs, this canine illness partially paralyses the muscles of the voice box. The result is a muffled bark, noisy or laboured breathing, and therefore lack of interest in exercise and their usual active lifestyle. This can be a life-threatening problem and may require surgical treatment.

labrador retriever at the vet

You can also talk to your veterinarian about a Labrador-specific preventive health plan to help minimise illnesses and ailments that can potentially threaten your dogs health.

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