When you are buying a Labrador Retriever, you are not only buying one of the world’s most popular and intelligent dog breeds, you are also selecting a dog that is one of the healthiest. If you are maintaining a balanced diet along with exercise, there is a very small chance any health problems will develop in your Labrador Retriever. Regular vaccination and checkup by the veterinarian minimizes the chances of many health-related issues in Labradors.
The owner must have some knowledge about some of the major health problems experienced by Labrador Retrievers. There are many typical health problems that are related to Labradors, but we will discuss some of the major problems below.
Craniomandibular osteopathy in Labradors is common in their growing stage. Although it is not very common in large breeds, it is still possible that your lab may suffer from this disorder. According to the aquatic community website,
“…Craniomandibular osteopathy is most common in West Highland White Terriers, but it occurs in a lot of other terrier breeds as well, including Scottish Terriers, Boston Terriers, and Cairn Terriers. It has also been diagnosed in Great Danes, Doberman Pinschers, and Labrador Retrievers…”
It is a disease of the cranium (bones in your head), including the bone of the lower jaw (mandible), the bone that surrounds the middle ear (tympanic bullae), and the bone that forms the joint between the skull and lower jaw (temporomandibular joint). Overgrowth of these bones is referred to as craniomandibular osteopathy in Labradors and other dog breeds.
Muscular Dystrophy in Labradors is a rare genetic disease that affects the musculature of Labradors. This disease is more prevalent in male Labradors than in females. Muscular dystrophy belongs to a group of inherited disorders involving loss of muscle tissue and muscle weakness, especially skeletal muscles. This disease can occur at any age, however, according to PubMed Health website,
“…Muscular dystrophy can affect adults, but the more severe forms tend to occur in early childhood…”
Progressive retinal atrophy is a genetic condition in Labradors. This disease affects the Labradors retina. Bilateral degeneration of the retina is a characteristic of this condition in Labrador Retrievers. This is a progressive disease since over time vision is slowly lost blindness is caused. This is a serious condition in Labs and there is no proper treatment available for this condition. Therefore, it is important to be more aware of this condition.
Cataracts in Labradors aren’t specific to any age group, as they can occur at any age, even before birth. It is actually a disease of the lens of the eye, which is a disc-shaped transparent structure in the eye. The main role of the lens is to focus an image onto the retina, from which the signal of the vision is sent to the brain for further processing. Any issue with the transparency of this lens will reduce the focusing of images onto the retina and will result in impaired vision or even blindness. Cataracts in Labradors and other animals are defined as opacities of the lens of the eyes. Continue reading →
Labrador Retriever – Distichiasis in Labradors is one of the eye related inherited disorder seen often in purebred dogs. It is relatively more common in other dog breeds like English bulldog, Shih Tzu, Golden Retriever, Lhasa Apso and American cocker spaniel. This disorder is characterized by the growth of an extra hair within the glands of the eye instead of on the eyelid’s skin surface. This growth starts deep in the gland, which make it rather more complicated.
We all know how special the Labrador Retriever is. Amongst the most intelligent of his specie, the Labrador is also a very efficient and a gift, indeed, to humanity. Just consider the followings: The Labrador Retriever plays a role in assisting the police detect narcotics. They also help both, the police and the army, detect explosives. They are found in airports, busy train stations, in the borders and even in the Army. One will often find the Labrador Retriever joining a rescue mission after an earthquake. They are even used by fire departments around the globe for the same purpose. Labradors, with their flexible nature, are also Ideal as a Guide dogs for the blind. In this article we will deal with each of this aspect in more detail.
Labrador Retriever – Helping the Police
Buccleuch Avon (b.1885), considered the ancestor of all modern Labrador Retriever. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It is believed that as early as 1888 the dogs to be used by the police in England during the Jack the Ripper Murder. These were two Bloodhounds.
On the official site of the Metropolitan Police In the UK appears an article under the title “Dog Support Unit” In reference to the employment of Labradors by the police, it states :
“… In 1938 two Labradors became perhaps the first true police dogs patrolling in Peckham. Following the Second World War, six Labradors were re- introduced to combat crime and in 1948 the first German Shepherd Dog was used by the MPS. The dogs were very successful and numbers grew until, in 1950, there were 90. The Dog section was then based at Imber Court, Surrey…”
A yellow Labrador retriever. Labradors come in black, chocolate and yellow (i.e., cream or gold) colorings. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Ever since these intelligent, easy to train, Labradors have become an integral part of many Dog Support Units in the service of an array of institutions, ranging from Police to different security agencies worldwide.
Labradors are being used in airports to catch those who try to pass narcotics and or bombs. There have been many instances where these brave dogs with their highly developed sense of smell prevented the movement of huge quantities of narcotics. In the battle they are often used to discover hidden explosive and thus prevent the unnecessary death of many soldiers.
Labrador Retriever Comes to the Rescue
The Labrador Retriever is employed in the rescue of people who are either trapped under rubbles after an earthquake and/or after a fire. Not only they are agile enough to enter where man cannot, but they also well trained know how to come back and indicated the finding of a trapped living person as well as those who did not make it.
Labradors Stop Drug Smuggling
More and more Labrador Retrievers are being trained to sniff and detect various drugs. There are countless success stories where Labs stopped some major drug-smuggling attempts. The
Two Labrador Retrievers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
war on drugs is far from over, but having the Labrador Retriever on the side of those who fight drug smuggling, makes life a lot easier. Labradors can be found in airport, train stations and in the borders. They are heroes that from time to time sacrifice their life to make ours better.
Labradors Detect Explosives
This may be the most dangerous task the Labrador Retriever will ever have to face. They are trained to detect a range of explosives and when there sense of smell is trained enough for the task, you will find them helping the police, the army and other authorities.
In doing so, they save many lives. There are many Hero Labradors who have saved countless lives, but here I would like to introduce you to Treo the Hero Labrador serving in the British Army.
“Like his colleagues who have been similarly honoured before him, the latest member of the British military to receive a medal may have woken this morning with a sense that today would not be a normal day.
Unlike other service personnel, the hero of the hour then lapped up water from a bowl on the floor and thrust his face into a dish of dog food.
The actions of Treo, a black labrador trained by the army as an arms and explosives search dog, are to be formally recognised today when he is awarded “the animals‘ Victoria Cross”.
The eight-year-old was deployed to Afghanistan in March 2008, tasked with searching for weapons and munitions concealed by the Taliban.
On 15 August 2008, while working in the town of Sangin, he located a daisy chain IED – two or more explosives wired together to maximise casualties.
A month later, Treo found a second daisy chain, saving a platoon from injury. Recommending him for the award to PDSA, the army said Treo’s actions had saved soldiers and civilians from death and serious injury.
The black labrador, accompanied by his handler of five years, Sergeant Dave Heyhoe, will be presented with the PDSA Dickin medal by Princess Alexandra at the Imperial War Museum in London…”
Anglia News Treo Labrador Dog awarded medal & The First Color Films
Labradors Lead the Blind
Being an extremely intelligent breed, the Labrador Retriever is an ideal dog to be trained in guiding the blind in the safest way possible. It takes a special blend of Labrador to make for the perfect guide dog. In the site http://www.guidedogsofamerica.org, I have found a description of how the breed is prepared to make for that ideal guide out of the Labrador Retriever. In an Article titled Breeds and Matching Process and that is found on their site the breed used and the matching process are explained very eloquently :
“Breeds Used:We use 70% Labrador Retrievers, 15% Golden Retrievers, and 15% German Shepherds. The Labrador Retrievers make up the majority of our dogs because we have found them to be the most successful breed used for guide dogs. In fact, the Labrador Retriever is the dog most often used for guide dog programs throughout the world.
The Matching Process: Upon completion of formal training, the dogs are carefully matched with blind students by our licensed trainers, taking into consideration their lifestyles and environments. In addition, the personalities of both student and guide dog, size, strength, pace of walk and energy levels of each are also matched to ensure a harmonious relationship…”
My White, Puppy Labrador, Osito - First day in His New Home
Conclusion: We should all be thankful to the Labrador Retriever for being part of our lives. Whether we use them as pets, having their proper place as part of the family or employ them to lead the blind, rescue people who are trapped after a fire or an earthquake, saving our soldiers in the battle field, the Labrador Retriever has proven to be intelligent, very loyal, friendly and very resourceful in assisting mankind.