COMMON LABRADOODLE HEALTH ISSUES
The Labradoodle has quickly won over so many hearts in the last few decades. And with good reason! They’re generally incredibly friendly, intelligent, and simply a joy to have nearby.
Labradoodles can develop health issues. Many of the most common health issues are also a problem for the parent breeds of the Labrador, the Poodle and also the Cocker Spaniel.
The first fact to remember is that any dog can develop health issues. Just like we humans are subject to disease depending on our genes, lifestyle, or misfortune, it’s the same with our canine companions.
THE HEALTH OF BURRINJUCK LABRADOODLES
Burrinjuck Labradoodles have been breeding Labradoodles for over 16 years. We carefully manage our pedigree lines and remove breeding dogs from our program with known health conditions. We test our dogs for genetic diseases and traits using the full DNA panel from Orivet Genetics. We also hip and elbow score our breeding dogs.
Burrinjuck Labradoodles provide a comprehensive health guarantee to protect our new puppy owners and also offer free 30 day insurance cover through Trupanion Insurance. This “New Puppy” insurance covers your puppy from any unexpected health concerns (including the day of delivery/ pick-up) for a period of 30 days from 8 weeks.
A list of the most common health conditions
So, we now know that Labradoodles can develop health issues of different kinds. And that it is essential to stay informed of your dog’s condition. We’ll take a more detailed look at some of the most common Labradoodle health issues.
The first item on our list of possible Labradoodle health issues is cancer.
Cancer in dogs is more common in old age (above ten). Research suggests that more than 40% of deaths in older dogs may be because of cancer. Our dogs are about as prone to cancer as humans are. So, it’s sad, but the odds are only natural.
Labradoodles and joint problems can often come together. These joint issues can include knee problems, pain in the joints, arthritis, hip dysplasia, or elbow dysplasia.
There are over 100 genes that may contribute to joint problems. As such, this is a very complex problem to eradicate. Additional factors that can affect joint development include over-exercising; overfeeding; rapid growth; repetitive behaviours such as jumping up and down on the back legs; or injury/ trauma.
Burrinjuck labradoodles screen their adult breeding dogs for signs of hip/elbow dysplasia. This is most commonly assessed via x-ray of the hip and elbow joints. Dogs must be at least one year of age, prior to testing as bones are still developing up until, at least one year of age. The hip scores are marked out of a possible score out of 100. It is best practice to breed from dogs that have hip scores at the breeding average or lower. The current 5 year breeding average score for Labradoodles is 8.
Burrinjuck do not recommend early desexing. A multitude of research supports the notion that early desexing can create problems with bone growth and the lack of sex hormones interfere with proper joint development and density of bones.
The signs of your dog’s joint pain can sometimes be easy to miss. Just because your Labradoodle isn’t yelping or immobile doesn’t mean there is no problem. Common symptoms include irritability, excessive lying down, limping, lagging on walks, reluctance to climb stairs, lack of enthusiasm for play or walks, etc
Various anti-inflammatory medicines can help relieve joint pains. Joint Guard and Antinol Rapid have both been reported to be effective. You can also use joint supplements as alternatives. Turmeric is a known for its anti-inflammatory properties; and bone broth is full of collagen, which can be helpful. There are also therapeutic foods that can help boost your dog’s health such as oily fish, like sardines and salmon. Coconut Oil contains Medium Chain Fatty Acids that promote general health and wellbeing. Probiotics are worth exploring.
Also, one of the most positive actions you can take is to watch your Labradoodle’s weight. Obesity in your dog can cause or aggravate any existing joint problems. Since Labradoodles are generally an active type of dog, this isn’t hard to do. But if you do need it, work with your vet to design a weight loss plan that involves the right diet and exercise.
Labradoodles can experience vision problems because of eye diseases, injury, or old age. Labradoodles are prone to a genetic eye condition known as PRA-prcd. This is serious eye condition where the retina detaches from the eye, leading to blindness. Burrinjuck Labradoodles test for this genetically transmitted disease and only breed from dogs, free from this disease.
Common symptoms of visual difficulties include redness, excessive fluids, cloudiness, low vision, squinting, eye colour changes, etc. There may also be behavioural changes that imply vision problems. These include bumping into things, aversion to light, confusion, pawing the face, etc.
Labradoodles, like any other breed of dog, can be prone to certain infections. Some examples include:
- Ear infections: Due to the shape and position of their ears, Labradoodles are prone to developing ear infections. Symptoms include head shaking, scratching at the ears, and a foul odour coming from the ears.
- Skin infections: The poodle is prone to sensitive skin. Bacterial and fungal skin infections can develop due to a weakened immune system or a break in the skin. Allergies and Eczema are also a common reported concern. Symptoms include redness, itching, and hair loss.
TIPS THAT MAY ASSIST
How often are you bathing your Labradoodle? Too frequent washing can strip the lanolin (oil) from the skin and create dry skin. Other common sources of allergies include different types of grasses; pollen and dust. Have you tried probiotics and/or supplements? Some people report that feeding chicken can flare up allergic/eczema conditions. Others say that following a raw diet has helped tremendously. The MCT (Medium Chain Tryglycerides) in coconut oil is worth a try and also omega 3 fish oils.
In regard to the ear infections, be sure to dry the ears thoroughly after bathing. Frequent use of Epi-Otic can be useful as a preventative measure. There is also a fantastic product on the market called Elsie’s Ear Powder that can be used before, during and after an ear infection to keep the ears clean.
Addison’s disease, also known as adrenal insufficiency, is a condition where the adrenal glands do not produce enough of the hormones cortisol and aldosterone. In Labradoodles, this can result in symptoms such as:
- Weakness and fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Low blood pressure
- Muscle tremors or weakness
If left untreated, Addison’s disease can be life-threatening. Treatment involves supplementing the missing hormones and monitoring the dog’s condition to keep their levels within a normal range. It’s important to work closely with a veterinarian to properly manage this condition.
Von Willebrand’s Disease
von Willebrand’s disease (vWD) is a bleeding disorder that is caused by a deficiency in a blood protein called von Willebrand factor (vWF). In Labradoodles, vWD can lead to:
- Easy bruising
- Prolonged bleeding after injury or surgery
- Bleeding in the gums or in the gastrointestinal tract
The severity of vWD can vary, and some dogs may only have mild symptoms, while others may have severe bleeding episodes. Treatment for vWD may include the use of medications to increase the levels of vWF in the blood or to help the blood clot more effectively.
It’s important to work with a veterinarian to properly diagnose and manage this condition. This condition is one of the multitude of genetic diseases that are included in the full genetic profile conducted by Orivet Genetics.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is characterized by recurrent seizures. In Labradoodles, epilepsy can cause:
- Uncontrollable muscle contractions
- Loss of consciousness
- Urination or defecation
The cause of epilepsy in dogs is often unknown, but it can be hereditary or caused by head injury, infection, toxic overload, exposure to heavy metals, poisoning or other underlying medical conditions. Treatment for epilepsy typically involves the use of anti-seizure medications to control the frequency and severity of seizures.
In some cases, a combination of medications may be needed to effectively manage the condition. It’s important to work with a veterinarian to properly diagnose and manage epilepsy in your Labradoodle.
A Labradoodle’s health is a complex interplay of congenital and genetic predispositions; and environmental factors. Stress; diet; and lifestyle contribute to the health and wellbeing of your dog, in the same way that these factors affect your own physical health.
Burrinjuck Labradoodles conduct appropriate testing. We make responsible breeding decisions based on experience and feedback from our families regarding the health and wellbeing of our dogs. Of course, sometimes we are just unlucky and the roll of the dice may fall on one of the common health concerns that are outside of our control.
Burrinjuck Labradoodles are here to support you and your puppy throughout the lifespan. We enjoy hearing from families and keeping up-to-date with our Burrinjuck Labradoodles.