The highly selective historical breeding programs aimed at producing dogs with specific traits (pedigree dogs) mean that mutated genes, that would have normally disappeared due to natural selection, have been passed on leaving many of today’s pedigree dogs prone to severely degenerative inherited disorders.
Dogs were bred for looks, size, speed etc… without any understanding of how these traits would affect their health and quality of life.
English Bulldog: Bred to exploit a skull abnormality which means they have many hereditary and congenital diseases/disorders.
Newfoundland: A big dog with an undersized heart resulting in circulatory problems and proneness to heart attacks.
Today we have a far better understanding of the effects of these traits and a raft of testing procedures to identify dogs who are affected by or are carriers of mutated genes.
All responsible breeders now use these tests to ensure that any Sires and Dams are free from any harmful gene mutations before allowing them to breed.
When you are purchasing a puppy you must check that the breeder has carried out the recommended schedule of tests as advised by the Kennel club and BVA.
Certificates are issued for these tests, you can double-check with the Kennel Club register to make sure the certification is genuine.
At Fortiswick, like all responsible dog owners, we are doing our utmost to remove these inherited illnesses from the Labrador gene pool, ensuring good Labrador health for future generations.
Labrador Related Illnesses
There several hereditary conditions present at various levels in the Labrador population and other ailments that, whilst not heredity, Labradors are susceptible to.
Some such as Ebstein’s anomaly and Exercise-induced collapse (EIC) can have fatal consequences, others such as narcolepsy while inconvenient will not have an overly dramatic effect on the dogs quality of life.
On the pages, listed at the end of this introduction, we have listed the most common conditions affecting Labrador health along with the effects and the testing procedures.
Just like Humans dogs can get ill for a variety of reasons. The number one health problem among dogs is obesity which particularly affects Labrador health as 45% have the ‘gluttony Gene’ (a mutated PMOC gene variant).
This gene turns off the ‘my tummy is full switch’ which is why Labradors are chronic over-eaters. This leads to diabetes, heart problems, cancer and a host of other debilitating conditions.
Managing your Labradors diet and giving her the correct amount of exercise, along with regular worming, flea & tick treatment, vet checks and booster shots is the best way of ensuring she has a long happy life.
As responsible dog owners, we must also take precautions to control the transmission of preventable illness.
It is only by taking measures such as asking for proof of health checks that we can stop the exploitation and mistreatment of dogs by unscrupulous breeders and puppy farms.
The following links are to our information posts on the most common ailments affecting Labrador health.
There is also a list, with prices, of some DNA tests you need if planning to breed from, or want to screen your Labrador.