Labradors and health issues they face
The Labrador Retriever, Labrador, or Lab is a medium-large breed of retriever-gun dog. It is one of the most common breeds of house pet in the Western world.
Labrador Retriever overview:
The capital city of Newfoundland formed the original name of the Labrador Retriever: ‘St. John’s Water Dog’. It was here in the North-Eastern Atlantic coast of Canada in the 1700s that the trusty Lab helped the local fishermen to haul in their fishing nets to retrieve any fish that had escaped. It was much later that the breed was renamed the Labrador Retriever, after the Labrador Sea, which became the location of their development. Most of todays Labradors will avoid work if they can to enjoy a pampered life with a family, but they still make great guide dogs for the blind, and are regularly used as assistant dogs for the disabled. In some areas Labradors are still used for search and rescue, or with hunters to retrieve game. They can be trained to do almost anything, as they have a very keen sense of smell; however, they do not make good guard dogs as their nature is too friendly.
Temperament of a Labrador Retriever:
Labrador Retrievers have a very patient personality and like young children, which is why they make such great family pets. They will endure getting pushed and pulled around, but children should be taught not to approach them while they are eating or to pull their tail. Very rarely will a Labrador Retriever bite, but supervision is still needed, especially around food. They do tend to get lonely and will bark and get up to mischief if left alone for longs periods of time. Their activity levels can vary from dog to dog; but regardless, exercise is very important for this breed to keep them healthy, both physically and mentally. Labrador Retriever’s live to serve, which is why they love meeting people and adapt well to training. They will need to be trained to walk on a lead though, otherwise they tend to develop ‘selective deafness’ and wander off following their noses. Most Labs enjoy a swim in the sea and a good game of fetch, plus they will happily join you pottering around the garden and offer assistance. The breed is also known to mix well with other animals, so should be fine if you have other pets such as cats, rabbits or other dogs.
Ongoing Maintenance of a Labrador Retriever:
Labrador Retrievers can be quite active and need regular exercise, so if possible, it helps to have a big fenced garden they can roam around in. It is best to feed them measured quantities a few times a day, rather than all at one big sitting, as they are prone to bloating and weight gain.
Most Labrador Retrievers need a good daily brush to keep the shedding under control, but grooming is fairly easy. They need a bath at least every two months, unless of course they have found something to roll in! Labs tend to be patient when being bathed and generally enjoy the extra attention.
There are also other maintenance requirements they are generally necessary, such as regular ear checks, as bacteria and dirt can tend to build up inside, which causes a bad smell and inflammation. However, it’s important that you never insert anything deep into the ear canal and only clean the outer ear. If possible, teeth brushing should be done daily using an appropriate pet toothpaste; but never use a human toothpaste for your dog. Usually a busy Labrador Retriever’s nails will keep short naturally, but if you notice that your dog is clicking their way across the floor, then the nails probably need trimming; this will prevent any scratching on hard floor surfaces or if they jump up on visitors. To make it easier, it is best to try and make grooming a positive experience for your Labrador Retriever, filled with praise and rewards.
Common health issues found with a Labrador Retrievers:
Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD or OD) is an inflammatory condition found on labradors that occurs when the diseased cartilage separates from the underlying bone. It most commonly affects the labradors shoulder joint but the elbow, hip, or knee (stifle) may also be effected. Once present, osteoarthritis cannot be cured but can be effectively managed in most patients by using Streamz technology.
Idiopathic epilepsy is the most common cause of seizures in Labrador retrievers. Seizures often occur at times of changing brain activity, such as during excitement or feeding, or as the dog is falling asleep or waking up. Affected dogs can appear completely normal between seizures. There is no link between Streamz and epilepsy in dogs and as such StreamZ technology is suitable for use on dogs who may suffer from epilepsy.
Elbow dysplasia is a common condition found in labradors that causes swelling, pain and arthritis in the elbows. It can be managed with exercise control, weight control, physiotherapy and varying forms of pain relief including magnetic therapy such as StreamZ technology.
Hip dysplasia is a common skeletal condition found in the Labrador retriever breed and other larger breeds. It is experienced when the ball and socket of the dogs hip do not fit or develop properly, and they rub and grind instead of sliding smoothly. This results in deterioration over time and an eventual loss of function of the joint itself creating pain and discomfort. It can be managed with exercise control, weight control, physiotherapy and varying forms of pain relief including magnetic therapy such as StreamZ technology.
Gastric Torsion (bloat)
Gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), also known as gastric dilation, twisted stomach, or gastric torsion, is a medical condition that affects Labrador dogs in which the stomach becomes overstretched and rotated by excessive gas content. Labradors are notoriously fast eaters, and so the risk of bloat from their feeding speed makes sense as a contributing factor. It is not thought that magnetic therapy has any impact on bloat.
Minor concerns with a Labrador Retriever:
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- Otitis Externa
Occasional tests recommended to be carried out on Labradors:
- Elbow joint movement
- Hip joint movement
- Eye test
- Ear Examination
What is clear, labradors (and all pet dogs) require ongoing care and support to help them through their latter years and support their mobility levels. Ensuring your Labrador has a balanced diet, an exercise program and an ongoing recovery and rehabilitation process is key to a happy future with your beloved Labrador.