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Raising A Labrador Retriever- Health Problems In Dogs
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Raising a Labrador Retriever- Health Problems in Dogs

The problem with dogs is that they don't live as long as we do. A typical lifespan for a Labrador Retriever is 13 to 15 years. Most Lab owners will have a few Labrador Retrievers over the years, many will develop health problems of one kind or another. If they don't fall prey to one of the genetic problems that can be prevalent in Labs, they will inevitably grow old. One of my early experiences with a Lab was an old fellow named Riker. In his prime he was one of the early trial dogs and one of the first NAHRA(North American Hunting Retriever Association) Grand Master Hunting Retrievers. When I met this dog he was well past his prime, I don't know how many of you have experienced a really old dog but he was one. Imagine a man in his 90's with thinning hair and liver spots showing through, Cataracts so severe he was essentially blind. The only part that seemed to still work was his nose.

As they age many health problems in dogs become more pronounced. Spring seems to be especially hard on some older Labs. The bacteria and molds that have been dormant throughout the winter all seem to bloom in the spring and cause all kinds of digestive troubles. A sure sign of dogs in distress are vomiting and diarrhea. This can be brought on by ingesting some nasty spring greens or just sniffing the wrong mailbox. If the distress persists, a few dinners of rice and boiled hamburger many provide some relief or a dose or two of Imodium to correct the diarrhea may be in order. If this persists, dehydration is a real complication that needs to be dealt with. A Vet visit for IV fluids may be necessary but at this point you should be looking to your Vet for a diagnosis and some pointed treatment.

Eye problems are quite frequent in older Labradors. There is a genetic eye disease called PRA ( Progressive Retinal Atrophy) that has been quite prevalent in Labrador Retrievers. Responsible breeding is the only way to eradicate this disease. There are treatments available that support the affected dog with anti-oxidant treatment. This will provide palliative care but will only postpone the blindness that comes with this disease. Diagnosis of this condition should be done by a board certified canine ophthalmologist. A CERF certificate will be provided when your Lab is cleared.

There are quite a few health problems in dogs that crop up as a dog ages. Seasonal environmental stresses will affect the older Labrador Retriever more than younger dogs with a healthy immune system. Keep on top of your Labs needs and keep your Vet's' phone number handy for those times when environmental stresses overwhelm your older Lab.

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