Just the thought of the beloved family dog getting sick saddens every owner, it’s simply a heart-wrenching proposition. However, we need to be aware that it can happen. Our dog’s health may progress as they get older and Golden retrievers in particular face some specific types of ailments that all owners should definitely be aware of.
Being informed on these common health issues means you can catch them early for medical attention. Here’s what you need to know to manage their health as thoroughly as you would your own!
Goldens are predisposed to cataracts. “Cataracts often occur from disease, old age, or trauma to the eye,” said veterinarian Dr. Benedetta Sarno, Ph.D., DVM.
“If you notice your dog’s eyes are looking cloudy, it might be time to see a vet. Surgery can be performed so the cataract doesn’t slip from the tissue that holds it in place.”
Treatments can also include oral supplements or eye drops. Though cataracts can cause poor vision or blindness, a dog can still continue to live a happy life!
Hip Dysplasia is a form of arthritis that causes growth in the joints of the dog’s hips.
“While hip dysplasia can be hereditary, it is very common in larger dogs like Goldens. This can happen because the socket may be too shallow, the joint may be too deformed, or the ligament in the area may not be strong enough,” says Dr. Sarno.
Dr. Sarno also explains that improper nutrition and obesity can also cause it.
“Normally, this joint functions smoothly so the active dog can easily walk, run, and get up and down. But if left untreated, a dog may not be able to walk again,” warns Dr. Sarano.
“If you’re seeing decreased activity, pain, or loss of muscle mass, I mainly recommend weight reduction, anti-inflammatories, and even physical therapy,” Dr. Sarno advises.
Patellar luxation, or “loose knees,” is a congenital disease where the kneecap often comes out of position. While this issue can be identified quickly as dogs will limp, skip, and have abnormal sitting positions, it may not be noticed until about six weeks of age.
“Depending on the severity and movement of the patella, a vet may recommend surgery,” Dr. Sarno said.
“It also helps when owners support the treatment with joint supplements and pain-relief methods.”
Think steroids, pain relievers, braces, and bandages. And even better, the prognosis is usually positive. Dogs can live with the disease while still leading a healthy, normal life!
According to the Morris Animal Foundation, “skin problems are one of the most common reasons owners take their dog to a veterinarian.”
However, the majority of skin issues aren’t as scary as they sound — some can be as simple as an ear infection or allergic reaction. Others occur when mold, dirt, food, fleas, or other invasive items grow under your animal’s skin. Dr. Sarno says that the most common are lipomas — benign masses made up of fat cells.
“Treatments may involve surgery, change in diet, and the infiltration of calcium chloride,” she said.