Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Health Issues with Your Labrador Retriever

Most dog breeds possess a breed specific health problem usually to do with the way their bodies are designed. The Dachshund suffers from back problems due to its low set back and the short-necked breeds such as the Bulldog can be prone to breathing difficulties.

The Labrador Retriever is no exception to the rule and probably the most common health issue this dog encounters is hip dysplasia. Canine hip dysplasia is an issue for many dog breeds. The problem lies in the dog’s hips basically there is a problem when the joints that normally make the hip work effectively become loose.

Labrador Retriever information pertaining to the dog’s health will all mention hip dysplasia. Basically the femur does not sit snugly within the pelvic socket as it once used to, the condition can vary considerably from dog to dog. It could be deemed as very mild right through to the other end of the spectrum and be very serious.

Occasionally a Labrador Retriever may have hip dysplasia but not really display any symptoms for awhile, then as time goes by the dog may start to show signs of arthritis. A dog might show difficulty in rising from a sleeping position and they may ‘telegraph’ their legs, meaning that they will hold the affected limb out straight. This will be done in an effort to ease the discomfort felt in the limb. Information on Labrador Retrievers very often touches on the subject of hip dysplasia.

Generally speaking hip dysplasia is an inherited health problem for dogs however the problem can be encountered for other reasons. Younger dogs can also suffer from it especially if they enjoy a life of jumping over fences, walls and other various obstacles. The problem arises in Labrador Retrievers under the age of two years because their actual joints within their hips have not yet developed properly.

When the dog jumps a lot it is literally over stretching its hip joints and they are being worked by the dog way beyond the Labrador Retrievers capability. Generally speaking, and I stress this is only a general observation, the Labrador Retriever will begin to display signs of hip dysplasia prior to it reaching a year old.

The dog may limp every so often or appear stiff when rising. If a dog is affected at a reasonably young age then the chances run high that they will suffer from arthritis when older. A dog’s hips can actually be x-rayed at the age of four months although most vets prefer to leave this until the animal is at least two years of age, this way the Labrador Retriever’s hips are completely developed.

You can request to view a puppy’s registration papers prior to purchasing as these will show that the puppy has been hip scored and graded accordingly. There are treatments available to help dogs suffering from hip dysplasia just simply research some Labrador Retriever information specifically relating to the topic. Just make sure to buy from a breeder who screens their puppies for hip dysplasia and gives a puppy warranty.

This article was written by John P Jackson for GreatDogSite, the web's most extensive library of dog articles, including many more on the Labrador Retriever.

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