Golden Retriever Health

This is a very brief overview of genetic diseases affecting the Golden Retriever.



Golden moments

If you're looking for a Golden Retriever puppy, it is very important to find a reputable Golden Retriever Breeder who has the health concerns of the breed at the heart of their breeding program. It is only by testing and clearing breeding stock that the problems that plaque the breed can be brought under control. While this doesn't guarantee a perfect puppy, it does help in knowing that you and the breeder have done the what you can to find a healthy puppy. Some people who breed are ignorant, or don't care about your puppy's health. Here at Legend Lake Golden Retrievers it is at the very heart of everything we do.

This is a very brief overview of genetic diseases affecting the Golden Retriever.



Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD): this is a skeletal problem within the development of the hip joint. The femur does not fit snugly into the pelvis socket. Changes over time with a shallow hip socket cause pain, lameness and excessive looseness in the joint. The dog can be lame or in pain in one hip or both. Dogs from strong lines have a history of having hips Orthopedic Foundation for Animals cleared.

Elbow Dysplasia (un united anconeal process): Elbow dysplasia is perhaps due to improper development (difference in growth rates) of the three bones that form the elbow. Looseness in the joint create an environment for painful arthritis. Treatment can involve surgery or pain medication therapy. Dogs can be tested through OFA and be cleared in the elbows.

Cataracts: Dogs can get cataracts just like people but when they are present in young dogs they can have a hereditary foundation. Cataracts are diagnosed by ophthalmosiopic exam. Breeding dogs should have their eyes cleared annually so any changes that have developed are noted and considered.

Entropion:Entropian is an inversion of the dogs eyelids which rolls the lid inwards and causes irritation of the eye. Surgery can be successful and usually has good results.

Trichiasis: Another abnormality of the eyelid, the eyelash grows along the lid margin of the eyelid and results in lashes growing toward the eye causing great irritation. If left untreated this can be very painful and may lead to corneal ulcers. Surgery is recommended. Easily repaired. 

Subvalvular aortic stenosis: (SAS) is a heart problem due to an abnormally narrow connection between the left ventricle and the aorta. This condition can eventually lead to heart failure. Fainting is usually an early symptom that their is a heart condition of SAS.

Allergies: in golden retrievers usually involves the skin but can also be related to the ears, nose or other parts of
the body. It is difficult to pinpoint the underlying causes. Intradermal skin testing is probably best for testing specific allergens. Always check for fleas first as they can be the cause of any excessive itching, scratching or biting the skin.

von Willebrand's Disease (vWD) is a blood disorder. Affected dogs do not utilize platelets for blood clotting and are more likely to have bleeding disorders with surgery or trauma.

Cardiomyopathy means disease of the heart muscle. Cardiomyopathy is most prevalent in Doberman Pinschers.

Epilepsy - is a neural brain disorder resulting is seizures or convulsions. Severity and frequency of these seizures is the determining factor in choosing the right seizure control medicines.


This is just a very brief overview of some of the problems with golden retrievers. I believe in being up-front and honest because I have a deep love for this breed and responsible breeding is imperative if we are to have victory over some of these issues. It is a devastating, costly and painful process to see a dog needlessly suffer from any one of these issues.  Genetic testing is crucial in any breeding program that is dedicated to the protection of the breed.

The initial investment of a healthy puppy from a reputable breeder who values genetic testing could save you thousands of dollars in veterinary costs and medical treatments.