All Things Dog

Health, Heredity, and Your Golden Retriever

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There are undoubtedly many reasons why you love your Golden Retriever. It could be because of his eager, alert personality, or his rich, lustrous coat, or any combination of the other cherished traits that make the Golden Retriever a perennial favorite.

However, the Golden Retriever’s extreme popularity has also led to indiscriminate breeding practices that have helped exacerbate a wide range of health issues, from genetic disorders to a propensity to develop certain diseases. Though the lifespan of a healthy Golden Retriever is 10–12 years, many health problems can severely impact the longevity of some dogs.

Be on the alert for these common health issues:

• Cancer—According to a health study by the Golden Retriever Club of America, cancer claims the life of 61.8% of Golden Retrievers. The two most common cancers are hemangiosarcoma and lymphosarcoma.

• Hip dysplasia—This condition, the abnormal formation of the hip joint, is a developmental disease in young dogs. An inherited condition, hip dysplasia cannot be detected in newborn puppies, and usually appears between four and nine months of age.

• Elbow dysplasia (ED)—ED is the abnormal conformation of the elbow joint, a condition that is suspected to be inherited. Symptoms range from stiffness—which can be hard to detect—to a more severe crippling condition.

• Cataracts—If your Golden Retriever’s vision seems impaired, he might have cataracts. Hereditary cataracts are a common problem with the breed and, in some cases, it can lead to severe loss of vision. If you suspect your dog has cataracts, he should be examined by a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist.

• Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis (SAS)—This hereditary heart disease has been known to affect Golden Retrievers.

It’s important to know as much as you can about keeping your dog healthy—because a happy and healthy Golden Retriever is one of the most beautiful things in the world: energetic, intelligent, and a wonderful companion.

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