Did you know Labradoodles are prone to common health concerns and genetic disorders? While many of these conditions are not common, it is important to be aware of them so that you can seek veterinary care if your dog develops one of them and they need medical attention.
14 Health Issues to Look Out For
While Labradoodles are generally healthy mixed breeds, a few health conditions are more common in this breed than others and need proper care from a vet. Many of these issues come from breeding issues and the breed craze with Labradoodles themselves.
Some of the most common Labradoodle health issues include hip and elbow dysplasia, epilepsy, cancer, and cardiomyopathy. If you have a Labradoodle and aren’t aware of the pros and cons of its health, it’s important to be aware of these conditions to get your dog effective treatment options for pain relief.
Hip Dysplasia & Elbow Dysplasia in Labradoodles
Labradoodles are prone to elbow and hip dysplasia, which can cause joint pain and mobility problems. A malformation of the joints causes dysplasia, and we often see it in large breeds of dogs.
Treatment for dysplasia typically involves:
- weight management
- exercise restriction
- anti-inflammatory medication, and
- in severe cases, surgery
- lack of range of motion
In more severe cases, should your dog have dysplasia in their hind legs, you may need to give your dog additional help. Going upstairs, a steep incline or an otherwise difficult area to traverse will be challenging, depending on how bad the dysplasia is. You’ll want to have tools on hand, such as a harness or something as simple as a towel to place under them and lift to assist.
Labradoodles are also susceptible to ear infections caused by a buildup of wax, bacteria, or yeast in the ears. Ear infections can be painful and may cause your dog to shake their head or scratch at their ears. If you notice your dog doing this, take them to the vet for treatment.
Signs your labradoodle has an ear infection can include:
- constant head shaking
- constant ear itching
- yeast smell from ears
- ‘dirt’ in ears
- redness of the inner part of the ear
You can also treat ear infections over the counter. However, the most common treatment helps to shotgun the infection immediately, and you can only get it from the vet. Over-the-counter medications such as Xymox are a good way to treat it at home and maintain their ears over time, so the infections don’t come back.
Epilepsy in Labradoodles
Epilepsy is a neurological condition that can cause seizures. Seizures can vary in severity, and some dogs may only experience them occasionally, while others may have frequent or chronic seizures. There are a variety of anti-seizure medications available, and your veterinarian will work with you to find the best one for your dog.
Signs your labradoodle may have epilepsy can include;
- looking dazed
- disoriented or wobbly
- temporary blindness
- muscle twitching
- loss of consciousness
- chewing on tongue
If your dog has epilepsy, it is important to get treatment to live a normal life. Without treatment, seizures can become more frequent and severe and may even lead to death. Therefore, it is important to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible if you think they may have epilepsy.
Cancer in Labradoodles
Unfortunately, cancer is a common health issue in Labradoodles. Some types of cancer seen more often in this breed include bone cancer, lymphoma, and mast cell tumors. Cancer can be difficult to detect, so it is important to take your dog to the vet for checkups regularly.
Some indicators your labradoodle may have cancer can include;
- unexplained weight loss
- coughing or exercise intolerance
- constant fatigue or lethargy
- difficulty eating or swallowing
- sores that won’t heal properly
If you notice any changes in your dog’s behavior or appearances, such as weight loss, lethargy, or a lump on the body, bring them to the vet right away to check them for cancer.
Coughing can be a symptom of cancer in dogs, as it can show tumors in the lungs or throat. If your dog coughs, there are several reasons this would be, so it doesn’t hurt to go in should they cough without reason and for prolonged periods.
Addison’s disease is a disorder that can cause various symptoms, including weakness, lethargy, and vomiting. If your dog has Addison’s disease, they will need to take medication to replace the hormones that their body is not producing.
A lack of the hormone cortisol, produced by the adrenal gland, causes the most common type of Addison’s disease in dogs. A lack of the hormone aldosterone, which helps regulate salt and water balance in the body, can also cause Addison’s disease.
Symptoms of Addison’s disease may include:
- weight loss
- increased thirst
- may pant more than usual
If you think your dog may have Addison’s disease, it is important to take them to the vet for a diagnosis. Addison disease is a serious condition that can be life-threatening if not treated properly. With treatment, most dogs with Addison’s disease can live normal lives.
Patellar Luxation in Labradoodles
Patellar luxation is a condition in which the kneecap becomes dislocated. This can cause your dog to limp or have difficulty walking. We often see patellar luxation in small breeds of dogs, and trauma, genetics, or developmental abnormalities can cause it.
Symptoms of patellar luxation can include;
- hopping or limping on a particular leg
- any type of changes in walking
- discomfort when walking
- leg stiffness
- can see or feel the knee cap slipping
Treatment for patellar luxation typically involves surgery to correct the problem, crate rest, and other conservative measures.
Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis
Subvalvular aortic stenosis is a heart condition that can cause symptoms such as exercise intolerance, fainting, and sudden death. If your dog has this condition, it will need to be on medication and may also need surgery.
Subvalvular aortic stenosis can be categorized with;
- fainting or loss of consciousness
- intolerance to exercise
- heart murmur
- weak pulse
The prognosis for dogs with subvalvular aortic stenosis varies depending on the severity of the condition, but many dogs can live normal lives with proper treatment.
Sebaceous Adenitis in Labradoodles
Sebaceous adenitis is a skin condition that can cause hair loss, itching, and scaling. Inflammation of the sebaceous glands, which produce oil, causes it to occur. Treatment for sebaceous adenitis typically involves medicated shampoo and topical therapy.
Signs of sebaceous adenitis can include:
- hair loss
- brittle or dull coat
- white scales on the skin
- lesions along with the head and spine
- bacterial infections
There is not yet a definitive answer to what causes sebaceous adenitis in dogs, but it’s believed genetics may play a role. Some other breeds more prone to sebaceous adenitis include the Golden Retriever, the German Shepherd Dog, and the Australian Cattle Dog.
Sebaceous adenitis is a chronic condition that can be difficult to treat. However, with early diagnosis and proper treatment, many dogs can live normal, happy lives.
Cardiomyopathy in Labradoodles
Cardiomyopathy is a heart muscle disease that can cause congestive heart failure. If your dog has this condition, it will need to be on medication and may also require surgery.
Symptoms of cardiomyopathy can include;
- difficulty breathing
- In severe cases, congestive heart failure and death.
Cardiomyopathy is a serious condition that requires treatment. With proper treatment, most dogs with cardiomyopathy can live healthy lives but may need regular checkups throughout the year to monitor their condition.
Labradoodle Skin Allergies & Food Allergies
Many Labradoodles suffer from the common issue of both food and skin allergies and may benefit from allergy testing. It might be a food allergy or something from their environment, such as seasonal allergies. Allergies can cause itching, hair loss, and hot spots. If your dog has allergies, it may need to take medication or be placed on a special diet.
Signs your dog may have allergies;
- hair loss
- ear infections
- irritated skin/flakey skin
- excessive biting and chewing of the skin
- excessive licking
- excessive scratching
- trying to relieve itching by rubbing on something or scooting around
If you’re going to give your dog something over the counter and the allergies seem mild enough, please talk to your vet about the correct dosage for your dog’s weight. Benadryl is a popular antihistamine used for allergies in dogs, and if that doesn’t work, you may need something stronger from the vet, such as allergy shots or other medications. Talk to your groomer about best policies when taking them in for a good groom should they have this condition.
Labradoodle Gastrointestinal Issues
It is important to monitor your dog’s potty habits when showing signs of gastrointestinal distress. If your dog is vomiting or has diarrhea, it is important to ensure that it does not dehydrate them and that they are getting enough fluids. You may also need to give them electrolytes to help them stay hydrated.
You can tell if your dog is dehydrated is to tent the skin just behind the back of their head. If it goes back down quickly, they are well hydrated. If it doesn’t go down or is very slow, they’re dehydrated and may need fluids if you can’t get them to drink.
In these cases, the vet can administer sub-q fluids. However, sometimes vets are happy to teach you, the owner, how to do it yourself as a form of home medical care. Some people may feel uneasy about doing this, which is understandable, but it’s an alternative to taking your dog to the vet every day or a few days to get fluids.
Stomach issues common in Labradoodles can include:
- digestive issues
- weight loss
- inflammatory bowel disease.
If your dog has stomach issues, he will probably need to take medication and may also need to be on a special, healthy diet.
Labradoodles and Otitis
Otitis is an inflammation of the ear, and various things can cause it, including allergies, infections, and foreign bodies. The most common symptom of otitis is scratching at the ears or shaking the head.
This is often because of the pain associated with the infection. Other symptoms may include discharge from the ears, odor, and redness. Symptoms of otitis can consist of some of the following;
- discharge from ears
- redness or swelling
- yeasty smell
- scratching ears excessively
- shaking head a lot
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, take them to the vet so that the infection can be treated.
Labradoodle Vision Problems & Eye Diseases
Labradoodles are susceptible to various genetic eye disorders, including cataracts, glaucoma, and progressive retinal atrophy. A variety of things can cause these conditions, including genetics, aging, and injuries. Treatment for these conditions varies depending on the severity but may include medication, surgery, or diet restrictions.
Symptoms of vision and eye problems in dogs can include:
- cloudy eyes
- bumping into things they were fine with before
- anxiety when going to new places
- not able to go up and down stairs
- not able to jump on and off furniture comfortably
- eyes are red or puffy looking
- eye irritation
- pawing at their face a lot
If your dog has any of these conditions, it will need to see a veterinary ophthalmologist for treatment. Early detection and treatment are important for the best possible outcome.
Labradoodle Cruciate Ligament Damage
Cruciate ligament damage is a common injury in dogs that can cause chronic pain, and Labradoodles are no exception. Trauma or genetics can cause this type of injury, and it typically requires surgery to correct and be effective pain relief. If your dog has cruciate ligament damage, it will probably need to be on medication and may also need physical therapy. They’ll also need to maintain a balanced diet and weight to help with any further damage.
Signs your dog has cruciate ligament damage:
- joint stiffness mostly after inactivity
- one hind leg out to the side while sitting
- difficulty getting up from the floor
- limping (especially in the hind legs)
- clicking sounds
Labradoodle cruciate ligament damage can be a serious injury and often leads to joint issues. Sometimes, corrective surgery may be required to repair the damage. If left untreated, cruciate ligament damage can lead to severe pain and lameness in the dog.
As you can see, various health problems can affect Labradoodles and their cousins. Some of these conditions are more common than others, but all of them can be serious. If you think your dog may be sick, it’s important to take them in for medical care to get the treatment they need. Their quality of life is just as important as yours!
Do you have a Labradoodle, or are you looking for one? Have you ever dealt with any of these health issues? Let us know in the comments!