Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Breed of the Week: Labrador Retrievers

My last appointment of the day was something like this:

Yes - very, VERY cute!

Labrador Retrievers are pretty well known to most people, even non-pet owners. This is because they are, and have been for some time, one of the top breeds in numbers and families that own them. Along with Golden Retrievers (which we will discuss at another time), they are wonderful and fun family dogs. They are usually great with other pets and children.

As the name implies, they are retrieving dogs used by hunters to go after waterfowl or pheasant. They also make excellent police, search and rescue, seeing eye and field trial dogs.  Most people have them as companions (sometimes in addition to a "job.")

Since we see such a large number of them, I can tell you what the most common problems are (health and behaviorally).

1. They ARE generally very energetic dogs - usually well beyond their puppy year. Owners need to be prepared for this. I strongly recommend a large yard, doggie daycare, etc and always obedience training (for ANY breed!!).  

2. Most of them will eat just about anything. I always warn new Lab owners of how frequently these dogs end up in surgery for foreign bodies of EVERY description - food and non food items. 

3. Obesity is one of the top medical problems - leading of course to many other medical issues as well. They are very food motivated and will eat the whole bag of dog food if you put it in front of them, so you need to really monitor the weight.

4. Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia - these are congenital problems that are screened for by REPUTABLE breeders.  

5. Skin issues/allergies - very common - affects the ears most often - chronic ear infections are what we often see.

6. PRA or Progressive Retinal Atrophy. Another disease we have genetic testing for so breeders can avoid mating dogs that will produce offspring with the problem. The retina in these dogs just starts to lose function and they go blind.

7. Arthritis is common as they get older - esp if there is extra weight on them.

8. Lumps and bumps - most labs get lipomas (or benign fatty growths) as they get older. Have your vet check out any lump you find though! 

They are very good at finding trouble!

1 comment:

  1. The Labrador Retriever has been the most popular dog breed in the U.S.
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