Retriever Health Problems

Retrievers are generally a very sturdy and healthy breed of dog; however there are a few Retriever health problems that you need to be aware of.

retriever health problemsRetriever health problems fall in to 2 categories. The first, like hip dysplasia, is something that affects the breed as a whole and the second, like obesity, is preventable and caused by the human owner.

Common Retriever Health Problems

There are a few genetic tendencies in retrievers. Reputable breeders keep a watchful eye on these, so if you buy a dog from them you are less likely to get an affected dog.

  • Canine Hip Dysplasia. By far the most common orthopaedic issue affecting Retrievers, this condition affects the hip and sometimes the elbow joints. It can be very painful and has an adverse effect on the dog’s mobility. If allowed to go unchecked, it can lead to debilitating arthritis. If picked up early enough, the symptoms can be managed.
  • Bloat. This is where the intestines twist, causing pain and loss of appetite.
  • Eye Problems. Cataracts affect Retrievers but do not necessarily affect their sight. PRA (progressive retinal atrophy) is caused by a recessive gene which causes first night blindness and eventually total blindness.
  • Epilepsy. This can be genetic or environmental in origin. It usually shows up in the first couple of years if the disease is inherited.
  • Hypothyroidism. This autoimmune disease is becoming more common and results in lethargy, weight gain, skin problems and loss of hair, much like the symptoms in humans. It can be controlled by medicating for life.
  • Cancer. Unfortunately this seems to be on the rise in Retrievers and has been cited as the number one cause of death amongst these wonderful dogs.

Whilst some of these retriever health problems have a clear genetic source, many of them are made worse by environmental factors. Dogs, like humans, are suffering from the overload of toxins in our atmosphere, food and water supply.

  • Allergies. Retrievers are quite prone to skin allergies, especially those caused by fleas. They have a thick coat which makes them more prone to this type of issue. Regular brushing and flea control is essential.
  • Ear infections. The big floppy ears of the retriever are a warm and hospitable place for mites and other undesirables.
  • Parasites. Internal and external parasites must be kept under control through maintenance and diet.
  • Obesity. Overfeeding, lack of exercise and the wrong type of food can all lead to canine obesity. This, in turn, can make any other health issues suffered by the dog, like heart disease or joint problems, much worse.
  • Diabetes. This is another condition that can usually be traced back to diet, in which case it is entirely preventable.

It is essential to provide your retriever with a healthy diet suitable for canines, sufficient exercise for this energetic breed and the usual parasite control necessary for dogs. Beyond that, you must choose your dog carefully to avoid genetic abnormalities that might cause Retriever health problems and hefty vet bills.