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About Golden Retrievers: Health

By Lauren Leonardi . July 02, 2012 | See Comments

About Golden Retrievers: Health

The Golden Retriever, loved by families and hunters alike, can sometimes face serious genetic health disorders. Learn more here.

This very friendly, even-tempered dog was bred in Scotland to retrieve waterfowl for hunters. As one might expect, Golden Retrievers typically love water. This breed is particularly susceptible to a variety of cancers, including mast cell tumors. Heart diseases and problems with joints and bones are also common. The Golden Retriever is an excellent family dog and takes to children, adults, and even strangers with equal affection. The Golden Retriever will live to approximately 10 to 12 years of age.

Primary Health Conditions of the Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever has a high mortality rate due to various forms of cancer, with up to 61% of dogs succumbing to the disease. Hemangiosarcoma—cancer of the blood vessels—is a particularly serious form that affects Golden Retrievers. More troublesome than fatal in its early stages is the mast cell tumor, which is found in the bone marrow and causes allergic reactions in the dog. These tumors appear as warts, sometimes ulcerated, on the skin. Surgery during early stages carries a good prognosis. The Golden Retriever can also be susceptible to hereditary heart defects. Be sure that your breeder excludes dogs with heart defects from their breeding cycle.

Secondary Health Conditions of the Golden Retriever

Many Golden Retrievers will exhibit hip and elbow dysplasia, or abnormalities in the joint between bones. These conditions can cause pain or discomfort in the dog and can be treated with surgery. Cataracts are the most common eye disease in Golden Retrievers and can lead to sight loss and blindness. In this condition, which can be treated with surgery, the dog’s lens becomes increasingly thickened and cloudy. The Golden Retriever tends to gobble any food it is given and thus obesity is common, especially in a family of willing feeders.

Golden Retriever Exercise and Walking Needs

The Golden Retriever is a sporting dog with moderate exercise needs. These dogs require daily play and medium to long walks on a daily basis. Because these are water dogs, the opportunity to swim will be readily taken by the Golden Retriever and can be an excellent way to provide the dog with its exercise requirements. The dog will retrieve balls or sticks from water seemingly endlessly. As the dog ages, its exercise requirements will diminish. Still, it should be encouraged to walk and play to prevent unhealthy weight gain.

Golden Retriever Nutritional Needs

The Golden Retriever is an eager eater, which makes feeding easy but overfeeding just as easy. A good quality dog food high in protein is important, as is portioning relative to the dog’s age and activity level. The dog’s long, fine coat will best be maintained with a food high in nutrients, especially vitamin A and Omega fatty acids.

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.

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