Golden Retriever Health
Six Common Problems
The fact that Golden Retrievers are one of the healthiest breed of dogs aside, there are common problems that they struggle with and it’s to the advantage of the owner to know what these are in order to keep an eye out for them.
Skin diseases are one of the top problems for our Goldens. At times, something as common as a mosquito bite or a flea will cause itching to the point where these dogs will chew the area until they create a lesion or what is called a hot spot… a raw, red and moist patch that will get larger in time. The simple solution is a bandage or a special collar to keep the dog away from this area giving it a chance to heal.
Allergies are another Golden problem. Wheat is typically an offending factor. Realize that numerous commercial dog foods have wheat in their recipes. This is not toxic for your pet, but it can cause them some digestive issues or cause uncontrollable itching. If your pet licks its face excessively or scratches constantly, you might have a dog that is allergic.
Underneath the outer layers of skin, more serious forms of skin disease can be forming… there are different types of fatty lipomas and the severe liposarcoma that can become common as the dog grows older.
Lipomas are typically benign and can be removed the next time your pet has his teeth cleaned under general anesthesia. They might grow bigger, but they are not a health concern and can be left alone without worry.
Liposarcomas, however, are malignant and need to be removed as quickly as possible. They should be treated as soon as they are diagnosed.
Cataracts can be common in Golden Retrievers that are older than age 10. This leads to blindness or at least reduced vision in the animal. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for this.
Heart conditions are less common in this breed… but if they do occur you will see either subvalvular aortic stenosis or cardiomyopathy. Subvalovular aortic stenosis is an obstruction in the ventricle left vein that will cause a reduction in blood flow. Sometimes this is harmless, as long as his exercise is curbed. The heart has to work harder due to the muscle thickening. This is usually genetic and the treatment can be beta blockers to mild antibiotics. Surgery is always a possibility but unlike human heart surgery, it has had limited success.
Cardiomyopathy is an acquired disease and more serious. It tends to happen at age 4 to 10 years – the cause is unknown. The heart muscle will become thin and flabby, progressively getting worse until the dog passes away.
Still, with all of these common problems, most Golden Retrievers live a long and healthy life. With the right diet and plenty of exercise, your pet has an even better shot at outliving most of his breed.
Esther Smith, author
Smith researched all health problems of the Goldens, and this article covers the 6 most common issues.
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