Health Issues with Labradors

Health Issues with Labradors

Labrador retrievers are friendly, happy, fun-loving and a joy to be around. They actually look like they have a smile on their face and just seeing your Lab staring at you adoringly puts you in a good mood. Who couldn’t love that face and joyful body? always in motion?

Labs are stocky, active, energetic and the picture of health, but are Labradors healthy?

Labrador retrieversOpens in a new tab. are a generally healthy breed but they are predisposed to certain health conditions.

In this post, I will inform you of health issues for LabradoOpens in a new tab.r retrievers. I will also answer the question, “Do Labs have health problems?” I will include Labrador’s health problem symptoms as well. Snuggle in with your lovable Lab and read along.

To check your labrador Retrievers’ health status or their DNA checks, please visit the Embark vet Opens in a new for all the help you may need.

Health Issues with Labradors
Image by PixabayOpens in a new tab.

Do Labs Have Health Problems?

   Yes, Labrador retrievers can have health problemsOpens in a new tab. just like any other dog. Some health problems Opens in a new tab.Labs are more prone to. I said they “can” have health problemsOpens in a new tab. and not “will” have health problems. Many health issuesOpens in a new tab. are hereditary and genetic in nature.

These can mostly be avoided by getting your Lab from a reputable breeder that takes great pains to eliminate bad genes by not breeding dogs that have tested positive for genetic diseases. Other conditions can be prevented with proper diet, exercise, and veterinary care.

Labrador Health Problems Symptoms

The Labradoodle is a beloved breed of dog with many health problems, but that doesn’t stop people from loving them and wanting one.

Labrador RetrieverOpens in a new tab. cross-breeds have been popularized in the United States by those who look for nonstandard pets to suit their lifestyles because they are so adaptable and easygoing.

The most common affliction associated with this type of animal is an eye disease which can lead to blindness if left untreated – luckily it’s very treatable!

Other issues include blood disorders where the red cells produce too much hemoglobin or not enough oxygen within their tissues as well as oral discolorations such as black gums due to plaque buildup around teeth among other things like skin allergies

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasiaOpens in a new tab. is a well-known condition, heard of and feared by many pet owners, It occurs mostly in large-boned dogs of which a Labrador retriever is one.

Hip dysplasia develops when the ball of the femur bone does not fit into the hip socket properly. It can be genetic, causing the joint to not fully develop.

Along with being hereditary, it can also be caused by injury or too much strenuous exercise as a puppy when bones are still forming. Rapid weight gain and poor nutrition can also play a role in the development of hip dysplasia.Opens in a new tab.

Hip Dysplasia symptoms

Hip Dysplasia symptoms can be detected in labrador puppiesOpens in a new tab. as early as three months old.
Dogs are born with hip dysplasia, and the condition worsens over time if left untreated.

When they reach adolescence, dogs of any breed may begin to limp or show difficulty standing up from a sitting position.

Thickening around their hips is common; this sign indicates that cartilage has been damaged by arthritis-related inflammation which can worsen quickly if not treated properly–often resulting in lameness due to bone rubbing on bone when weight is put onto the joint during movement… If you suspect your dog’s suffering from Hip Dysplasia ask for an examination today!

Hip Dysplasia symptoms are:

  • Limping or hopping
  • Pain in the hip when touched (one or both hips)
  • Weakness in hind legs (one or both)
  • Clicking sound when walking
  • Difficulty sitting, laying, rising, climbing stairs
  • Reluctance to play
  • Limited activity

Diagnosis of hip dysplasia can be confirmed by an x-ray. Treatment can consist of physical therapy, water therapy, anti-inflammatory drugs, and using a comfortable supportive bed. In severe cases, surgery is performed, sometimes with a total hip replacement.

Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is similar to hip dysplasia but causes lameness in the forelimbs. It is generally found in young dogs and is an inherited condition consisting of abnormalities and degeneration of the elbow joint that becomes worse as your Lab grows.

Large dogs are more prone to elbow dysplasia such as German shepherds, Bernese Mountain dogs, golden and Labrador retrieversOpens in a new tab..

Elbow Dysplasia Symptoms

Symptoms are similar to hip dysplasia but located in the elbow joint and can be pain, difficulty with getting up and down, swollen joints and reluctance to walk, play, etc.

Diagnosis can be confirmed through x-rays and treatment can be with NSAIDs, joint supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin, and also physical therapy. If elbow dysplasia is severe an alternative is arthroscopic surgery.


Panosteitis is common in Labs from six to fourteen months of age and presents as one foreleg being lame one day and transferring to the other foreleg the next day.

Panosteitis does go away but is painful at the time. Your Lab should rest as much as possible if this occurs and you can give them anti-inflammatories until they recover.

Cruciate Ligament Injury

Labs are prone to cruciate ligament injury because they are so athletic and active just like pro athletes who also can suffer from this injury.

Cruciate ligament injury is a torn ACL or anterior cruciate ligament. Surgery must be performed to repair the ligament and recovery time is a long six to twelve weeks.


Bloat is a very serious condition and a medical emergency in dogs, mostly large chested dogs.

Gastric dilatation and volvulus or bloat is actually a swollen or enlarged abdomen and occurs when the stomach becomes twisted by turning around.

By twisting, this causes a buildup of gas and liquids in the stomach that are unable to escape. The blood flow is also cut off.

Bloat develops if your Lab eats too much or too fast. Exercise right before or after a meal can also cause bloat.

Bloat Symptoms

Symptoms are:

  • Bloated, hard abdomen
  • A need for your pup to vomit with only liquid or saliva being produced
  • Salivating excessively
  • Restlessness
  • Pacing
  • Heavy, fast breathing
  • Collapse

Treatment for bloat should begin as quickly as possible. A dog can die of bloat in one hour. Dogs require surgery to correct this condition. To prevent bloat feed your Lab two to three smaller meals a day instead of one large meal.

You can buy puzzle bowls that will help your dog to eat slower as they have to work to get their food. Elevate dog’s bowls for better digestion and don’t exercise your pup for an hour before or after meals.


Labrador retrievers are prone to diabetes which occurs when the pancreas stops producing insulin that regulates blood sugar and metabolism.

Symptoms are excessive drinking and urination and increasing appetite, but with weight loss. Diabetes is managed and controlled with diet and insulin injections.


Hypothyroidism is an autoimmune diseaseOpens in a new tab. caused by an underactive thyroid. Symptoms are lethargy, intolerance to cold, weight gain, flaky, dry skin, skin rashes and infections, and loss of fur. Daily levothyroxine is needed to replace the loss of thyroid hormone.


Labrador retrievers are prone to allergiesOpens in a new tab., especially females. Allergies can be environmental from dust, mold, pollen, and flea bites or caused by allergens in food.

Symptoms can be skin irritations and rashes, flaky, dry skin, loss of fur, ear infections, and gastrointestinal issues if the allergy is food-related.

Treating the underlying cause of the allergy may be with medications both oral or topical or a change in diet. Some of these treatments or a combination should help relieve symptoms, but allergies cannot be cured.

Ear Infections

Because your Lab has floppy, large ears, air doesn’t circulate well and this can yield the growth of bacteria in this warm, moist area.

If your pup is shaking their head and their ear has a bad odor or a discharge this could be an ear infection.

Antibiotics will be needed to clear this up. To prevent ear infections, dry your pup’s ears well after bathing or swimming and regularly clean them as well.

Old Labrador Health Problems

Old Labrador Health Problems
Image from PixabayOpens in a new tab.

Compared to other breeds, labradors are particularly vulnerable when it comes to health problems. Opens in a new tab.

These can range from arthritis and asthma in their senior years all the way back through hip dysplasia at a young age!

That is why we recommend not only regular checkups but also plenty of exercise for your furry friend – that will keep them healthy both inside and out.


Labrador retrievers love to eat and will eat as much food as you feed them. Don’t overfeed your Lab and limit treats.

Try to keep up with your pup’s exercise, even as they age, perhaps at a milder pace if they are slowing down.

An overweight Lab can leave the door open for a variety of health conditions and diseases as they enter their senior years.


Many adult dogs suffer from osteoarthritis, which develops due to damaged cartilage. Activity does increase the damage, but your pup still needs exercise.

Your Lab may seem stiff, walk with a limp or be less excited about walking and playing.

Check with your veterinarian for guidance. Treatments that can help are physical therapy, water therapy, pain meds, and supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin which help to heal and lubricate joints.

Swimming is also an excellent exercise that doesn’t cause pressure on joints. Your Labrador will love this because swimming is in their blood! Being overweight exacerbates arthritis so try to maintain a healthy weight for your Lab.

Also make sure your Labrador has a nice comfortable supportive bed that cradles achy joints and place it in a nice warm, draft-free area.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is quite common in senior dogs. Just as in humans, it can be prevented with a healthy diet, plenty of water, rest, and exercise. Many heart problems can be treated with medication.


In dogs ten and older, cancer is the leading cause of death. Two of the more common types in Labrador retrievers are mast cell tumors and lymphosarcoma.

With many advances and research in canine health today, cancer need not be a death sentence.

Detecting cancer early ups your Labs odds for survival and there are many options for treatment such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy for dogs.

Your Labrador retriever may or may not suffer from health issues Opens in a new tab.during its lifetime. Prevention is the key factor in sidestepping health conditions.

It starts with choosing a responsible breeder when adding a Lab to your family. Providing your pup with a healthy nutritious diet, exercise and veterinary care also go a long way in ensuring your Labrador has a long, full, and healthy life.

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