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Know the Signs: 5 Most Common Health Issues in Labs

Written by: Arlene D.
| Published on May 23, 2023

Labrador Retrievers, affectionately known as Labs, are one of the most popular dog breeds due to their loyal and friendly nature. However, despite their energetic demeanor and robust physique, they are prone to several health issues. This article outlines the five most common health problems that Labs face, along with the symptoms you should be vigilant about.

  1. Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

These conditions, characterized by abnormal formation of the hip or elbow joint, are common in large dog breeds, including Labs. Hip and elbow dysplasia can lead to discomfort, pain, and in severe cases, lameness. Look out for signs like difficulty in getting up, reluctance to run, jump, or climb stairs, and a noticeable limp. If your Lab is showing these symptoms, it’s crucial to get them to a vet for an evaluation, as early intervention can significantly slow down the progression of these conditions.

  1. Obesity

Labs are known for their love of food and tendency to overeat. This, coupled with insufficient exercise, often leads to obesity, a condition that poses serious health risks, including heart disease, diabetes, and joint problems. Signs of obesity in your Lab include difficulty in feeling their ribs, lack of waist definition, and low endurance levels. Encouraging regular exercise and providing a balanced diet are crucial to keep their weight under control. If you’re uncertain about your dog’s weight, consult your vet for dietary advice and exercise routines.

  1. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

PRA is a group of genetic diseases that cause the retina’s gradual deterioration, leading to eventual blindness. It is relatively common in Labs. Early signs include night blindness and dilated pupils even in bright light. As the disease progresses, you may notice a more general vision loss. If you notice these signs, take your Lab to a vet immediately. While there’s currently no cure for PRA, early detection can help manage the condition and improve your dog’s quality of life.

  1. Heart Disease

Labs are susceptible to various heart conditions, including Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia (TVD), a congenital heart defect. Signs of heart disease can be subtle, including coughing, fatigue, decreased appetite, and difficulty breathing. If your Lab is showing any of these signs, prompt veterinary attention is required. Regular check-ups can help detect heart issues early, and treatment can significantly improve your dog’s prognosis and quality of life.

  1. Exercise-Induced Collapse (EIC)

EIC is a genetic condition that is quite common in Labs. Dogs affected by EIC may collapse after intense exercise, showing signs of extreme fatigue, disorientation, and incoordination. If you observe these signs, stop the exercise immediately and let your dog rest. It’s also vital to consult your vet, as dogs with EIC should avoid strenuous activities to prevent episodes of collapse.

In conclusion, while Labs are generally healthy dogs, they are prone to specific health conditions. Knowing the signs of these common issues can help you detect them early and seek appropriate veterinary care. Regular check-ups, a balanced diet, and adequate exercise can significantly contribute to your Lab’s health and well-being. Always remember that your vigilance as a pet parent can help ensure a long, happy, and healthy life for your faithful friend.

NEXT UP: Since the pandemic, veterinarian bills have skyrocketed. This website lets you compare prices on all the pet insurance companies at once.

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