Maybe the worst experience for any dog owner is their fellow companion falling ill, specially in cases where the health problem cannot be easily solved or can’t be solved at all. There are many dog diseases and problems capable of crippling your dog’s life, fortunately most of them can be easily screened at the moment of choosing your puppy, prevented with regular veterinarian check ups, and if your puppy is unfortunate to encounter any of them through his life, know that many can be treated successfully if detected earlier. So keep reading if you wish to prevent golden retriever health issues that may affect your dog.
Choosing Your Puppy
Dogs of any given particular breed are more susceptible to hereditary health problems when compared to dogs who don’t have a identifiable breed, because of this, it is advised to exercise caution when choosing your golden retriever puppy. Choosing a good puppy with a clean hereditary record from a reputable breeder is the best way to prevent golden retriever health issues that may arise in the future.
When you decide to find a golden retriever puppy, exercise precaution and try to find a reputable breed, one that tries everything possible to produce healthy puppies. Individuals of this have an enormous understanding and love for this dog type and for each individual pup they’ve brought to the world. Any responsible breeder will research the past and health problems of every golden retriever used for breeding practices, with the goal of minimizing the chances of hereditary health problems with the offspring’s.
Avoid buying your puppy from casual backyard breeders who don’t have the same knowledge and dedication you are looking for, pet shops also aren’t a good choice, as these often are unaware of the conditions their puppies were breed and raised in.
Prevent Golden Retriever Health Issues
There are many health conditions and diseases able to affect dogs, what conditions and diseases most affect your dog depends on your dog’s and he’s parents breed, hereditary factors, food habits and environment.
However, to sum it up and leave this article more easily readable, I will only mention the health conditions and diseases that most affect golden retrievers. Although I might mention some symptoms characteristic of such conditions and diseases, I remind you that in every case you should consult your veterinarian and let him advise and perform the actual diagnostics and treatment.
- Cancer: Cancer is the most common cause of deaths among golden retrievers with or over twelve years of age. To prevent golden retriever health issues related with cancer, then you should know that golden’s are more prone to lymphoma, melanoma, and hemangiosarcoma, veterinarians often do blood tests and search for lumps and bumps in the dog’s body. Early detection is very important when dealing with cancer. Studies are being conducted, specially one by Colorado State University, where about 3000 purebred golden retrievers will be monitored and tracked through their life’s with the aim of finding ways and means to prevent cancer among dogs. In order to prevent cancer as best possibly known, owners are advised to: limit amount of time the dog spends in the sun, manage weight and avoid overfeeding, daily exercise, regular veterinarian exams and check for skin problems, limit exposure to smoke, coal, herbicides, pesticides, and kerosene based products.
- Allergies: Golden retrievers can also suffer from food allergies like us. Symptoms include itchy skin, recurrent ear infections, diarrhoea and vomiting. There are many treatments available to treat allergies, from special diets to medications if necessary. Allergies can be prevented through proper grooming and maintaining a clean environment, furthermore, avoid places were fleas and other possibly intrusive bugs are present, also be mindful when feeding poultry foods like: wheat, lamb, soy and dairy food products can sometimes cause or aggravate food allergies.
- Dental Disease: Although generally golden retrievers aren’t very afflicted with dental problems, we all know this mostly depends on what you feed your dog. Dental disease starts with tartar build up, and progresses to infection of guns and teeth roots. Prevent golden retriever health issues related and/or caused by improper dental hygiene by regularly cleaning your dog’s teeth.
- Eye Conditions: Golden retrievers sometimes develop a range of eye conditions, these conditions are often inherited, however they can also develop over time. These eye conditions include: cataracts, abnormally grown eyelashes, and retina problems. These conditions often cause pain and sometimes lead to partial or complete blindness, have your veterinarian do a check-up on your dog eyes regularly because some eye problems like cataracts and entropion for example, can be removed successfully with the use of surgery.
- Ear Infections: Ear infections are common in golden retrievers, these are painful and annoying, you can just ask anyone of us who already had any infection of this kind. The sooner this is detected and treated the better, and the easiest way to detect this is when you notice your dog is scratching and shaking his head, and you smell something awful from the ears, or he doesn’t like no one to touch his ears because it seems to cause him pain. To prevent golden retriever health issues link to ear infections as best possible, avoid poring water into your golden’s ears during bath, after your dog has been for a while outdoors it is advisable to check his ears for seeds attached to the hair around it, cut away overgrown matted balls of hair close to the ears, and also do not pluck away hair out of his ear canals during grooming.
- Eating Unusual Things: This isn’t a disease or a health problem, but it could easily become one. Golden retrievers often pick things with their mouth and end up swallowing them by accident, other times they simply find the item “appetizing” and eat it. Rocks, coins, plants, socks, among many others, are just some of the things dogs swallow, and when these objects become stuck somewhere in the digestive system you will need to have them removed surgically. If you notice your dog is vomiting and/or behaving lethargic contact your veterinarian at once, he may have swallowed something toxic or poisonous. Its best to be careful about what we leave close at hand that our dog can reach to and swallow that may be harmful.
- Heart Disease: Golden retrievers can inherit a heart condition known as aortic stenosis, this disease causes partial obstructions of blood flow in your dog’s heart, meaning, the heart will have to work harder to pump enough blood. When severe, this condition may cause him to faint or cause severe tiredness. Difficulty breathing and cough are also expected in some causes. Over periods of time you may also realize your dog isn’t growing as much it should be. Proper treatment options suiting you dog’s size, weight and age should be discussed with your veterinarian.
- Infections: Besides ear infections, golden retrievers are also vulnerable to other viral and bacterial infections as any other dog is. Rabies, distemper and parvovirus are the common ones, and they can be prevented through vaccination, which you should consult your veterinarian’s opinions regarding them.
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: This inherited disease causes hip and elbow joints to form improperly, leading to arthritis. You may realize your dog has difficulty getting up or lameness in his front legs. Hip and Elbow dysplasia is often detected with X-rays and arthritis can be treated, as always: the sooner diagnosed, the better it can be treated. Sometimes surgery is also considered in severe situations.
- Joint Problems: When golden retrievers grow too quickly, the cartilage in their joins may not attach properly to the bones. And of course, as your dog gets older, it becomes increasingly likely to tear off he’s ligaments. Prevent golden retriever health issues related to joint problems by having a balanced, steady and high quality diet to avoid this problem keeping him at the right weight, and avoid too much jumping.
- Kidney Disease: Golden retrievers are also renal dysplasia, a genetic form of kidney disease which can target dogs right since puppy hood. Excessive drinking and urine production, poor appetite and/or weight loss, and eventually followed by vomiting and diarrhoea are the usual signs of this disease. Treatments include medication, fluid therapy and a special diet.
- Obesity: You wouldn’t believe how many owners feed their pets too much food, so in order to prevent golden retriever health issues related with weight, remember to feed an appropriate amount of food to your dog, according to the kind of exercise performed if any during the day. As tempting as it may be to give extra food or treats to your four legs friend, specially when he asks it. Just realize obesity is a important health problem in dogs, stirrer of many other problems like: arthritis, some cancers, heart disease and back pain. Be sure not to feed your dog too much, otherwise you can literally feed him to death.
- Parasites: Parasites are some of the most distasteful beings you can have inside your dog’s body, these can come from everything, fleas, ticks, ear mites, worms and bugs you dog might be unfortunate to come in contact with. Hookworms, roundworms, heartworms and whipworms can get inside your dog’s system by coming in contact with infected mosquitos, feces, drinking unclean water and unsafe or poor quality food. Parasitical infections cause pain, discomfort and sometimes death for you dog, on the other hand these can be transmitted to humans. It is important to test for the presence of parasites on a regular basis, and preventive medication if suggested by you veterinarian.
- Thyroid Problems: Golden retrievers are prone to a number of thyroid problems, in which the thyroid gland responsible for producing a number of hormones. These hormones are responsible for regulating a number of body functions, when these same hormones aren’t produced in enough quantity lead to a set of other problems. Dry skin, dry coat, hair loss, weight gain, lethargy, susceptibility to other skin diseases, mental dullness, and behavioural changes (fearfulness, mental dullness and excessive sleep) are signs which may indicate a thyroid problem.
What to look for the most in your golden retriever and at which age to prevent future health problems.
After talking about the health problems that most afflict dogs and golden retrievers in special, bellow you can have a look at the common problems and places you should be looking at in your golden retriever, and at which age you are best to look for them to best assure your dog’s well-being. Foreknowledge and prevention are the keys to prevent golden retriever health issues.
This way you will be more knowledgeable of what and at which age it is best to search and dismiss the likelihood of your puppy suffering from any health problem bellow mentioned. The ages mentioned might also prove an useful insight if your wondering at which ages or how regularly you should schedule your veterinarian appointments.
- 6 to 8 weeks: Heart murmurs and eye problems like entropion and distichiasis.
- 10 to 12 weeks: Heart murmurs, Eye problems (entropion, distichiasis and retinal dysplasia), Allergies and ear problems.
- 14 to 16 weeks: Lameness caused by joint disease, Heart murmurs, Eye problems (entropion, distichiasis and retinal dysplasia), Allergies and ear problems.
- 17 to 20 weeks: Allergies and ear problems, joint disease and heart murmurs.
- 4 to 6 months: Heart problems (subaortic stenosis) and joint disease.
- 1 year: Allergies and ear infections, eartworms and other internal parasites, external parasites, diabetes and thyroid problems.
- 2 years: Allergies and ear infections, eye or teeth infections or other common problems problems, weight control, organ’s health, joint disease and ligaments health, hip and elbow displasia, eartworms and other parasites.
- 3, 4 and 5 years: Allergies and ear infections, infections or problems with teeth and eyes, weight control, internal organ’s health and function, join disease and ligament health, eartworms and other parasites.
- 6, 7, 8 and 9 years: Diabetes, eartworms and other parasitical beings, organ’s health and function, weight control, allergies or ear infections, teeth or eye problems, heart problems, arthritis and thyroid problems.
- 10 years and older: Allergies, ears, teeth and eye problems, weight control, diabetes, internal organ’s well-being, thyroid function, arthritis, eartworms or other parasitical beings and heart problems.
As you see at every age there a few things you should always be looking for in your golden retriever, while others should be and can only be accurately screened by veterinarians to ensure the well-being of your friend. Having an healthy diet, preforming regular exercise, a pleasant environment, socialization, care with the places your golden retriever spends time and regular veterinarian appointments, goes a long way to prevent golden retriever health issues.