Whether you’re a young adult or thoroughly enjoying the grey-haired glory that comes with getting older, we’re all experiencing the process of aging. Eventually, getting out of bed or touching our toes may become a bit harder. Managing the health issues that come with aging is never easy. But for our four-legged friends with a shorter lifespan, age-related health problems can set in more quickly—and it’s up to pet owners to address them.
If not recognized and treated effectively, health issues can significantly impact your Labrador Retriever’s length and quality of life. Every dog owner wants nothing but the best for their pets, and proactively addressing these health problems is key to keeping your pup happy and healthy. Here is some information on the main health problems Labrador Retrievers face, and how they can be treated.
All About Labs
Labs have long been regarded as amazing pets, well suited for the high demands of hunting season, but also able to act as best buddies for any growing child or active person. Hard workers by nature, Labs are characterized as loyal and easygoing.
If trained correctly, Labs also make wonderful guide dogs, therapy dogs, and search-and-rescue dogs, thanks to their calm personalities and attentiveness. More than capable of rising to any challenge placed in front of them, Labs are the perfect choice for any person seeking a loving addition to their family.
4 Health Problems Your Lab Might Face
While Labs have many wonderful traits, the breed is also susceptible to certain health problems—both genetic and developmental. Knowing about these health issues and understanding how to treat or manage them is a great preventative step for any lab owner.
Labrador Retrievers are highly predisposed to developing joint problems, especially in cold months or throughout their more senior years. Usually passed down during the breeding process, these genetic joint problems could impact your dog’s mobility and longevity.
An abnormal development of the hip joint, hip dysplasia usually affects large-breed dogs like Labs. A telltale sign of hip dysplasia is limping or “bunny-hopping.” This condition can range from mild to severe.
Similar to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia is an abnormal formation of the elbow joint. Representing a whole group of congenital elbow diseases, elbow dysplasia can damage the bone or cartilage in your pet’s elbows. Supporting your Lab’s mobility is key to minimizing these effects.
While joint problems are the primary health issue facing large breeds like Labrador Retrievers, they can also experience multiple eye problems. With after-effects ranging from damaged vision to blindness, protecting your dog’s sight is crucial to helping them lead a happy, healthy life.
Highly inheritable, cataracts in dogs present as cloudiness in the crystalline lens of the eye, resulting in vision loss. This can affect how your Lab sees in dimly-lit areas. This progressive disorder will lead to blindness if not treated quickly.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a group of diseases that worsens over time and is usually seen in larger-breed dogs like collies, Irish Setters, and Labrador Retrievers. While it doesn’t typically affect peripheral vision, PRA can cause your dog to lose large amounts of his or her central vision over time.
Tips for Combatting Labrador Health Issues
Regular exercise, a healthy diet, dedicated training, and expert veterinary care all help to keep a Lab in tip-top condition. But sometimes, even the most thorough and dedicated care just isn’t enough. As your Lab ages, he or she might need more specialized procedures or medications to address any developmental or genetic health issues.
The joint problems we mentioned can typically be treated through physical therapy, a specialized diet, and extra care. Oftentimes, your pet can live normally with degenerative eye problems like cataracts and PRA—for a time. If impaired vision starts to greatly affect your best buddy’s daily life, surgical options can be helpful in protecting your Lab’s sight. Ultimately, you should take your Lab to the vet as soon as you notice any physical or behavioral changes so that a qualified veterinarian can identify and treat any underlying health issues.
Quality Support From Natural Ingredients
Despite any owner’s best intentions, and even with the help of advanced veterinary medicine, our furry friends are predisposed to certain joint and eye problems that might reduce their quality of life. That’s why it’s so important to support your Lab’s health from the get-go and provide them with everything they need to stay in peak physical condition. You may want to consider incorporating supplements made with natural ingredients into your dog’s daily routine. As with any change in diet, be sure to check with a vet before introducing a new supplement!
The Wapiti Approach
At Wapiti Labs, we harness the power of natural ingredients like elk velvet antler to promote your Lab’s strength, vitality, mobility, longevity, and flexibility. Consider our senior mobility supplement designed to support joint flexibility and mobility for dogs in the second stage of life, or our strength and conditioning supplements meant to help dogs recover after strenuous activity. No matter what area of your dog’s life needs some extra help, Wapiti’s EVA supplements can provide that extra boost. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you support your pet.