Retriever Health Issues

Dog at veterinary with his family

In addition to the two most popular types of retrievers, Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever, there are four other types, and these are Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Flat-Coated Retriever, Curly-Coated Retriever, and Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.

Each of these types of retrievers has its own particularities, from the appearance to the diseases that affect them. But in general, there are certain types of health issues that are common to each of them, but affect them in different ways; some breeds may be more prone to a particular problem in comparison with other breeds and the same type of disease doesn’t occur in every dog. For example, Labradors and Golden Retrievers both have heart problems, but they are prone to different heart diseases.

It doesn’t mean that every Retriever will develop the health issues listed below, but their breed has a history of developing them. Also, it doesn’t mean that there is no possibility that your dog will develop any of the diseases that are not on these lists.

10 Most Common Retriever Health Issues

These are the most common health issues in Retrievers, and below you can find a list for each type of Retriever.

  1. Joint problems
  2. Eye problems
  3. Cancer
  4. Epilepsy
  5. Obesity
  6. Heart problems
  7. Bloat
  8. Hypothyroidism
  9. Allergies
  10. Skin disorders

Below you can find more detailed information about the specific diseases that can occur within each of the listed types of Retrievers. This way you will be aware of the difficulties that your pet could potentially face in the future.

That way you can learn more about them and find out if some of them can be prevented, and if so, how can that be done.

Labrador Retriever Health Issues

Dog at veterinary

The average life expectancy of Labrador Retrievers is 10 – 12 years. Compared to many other dog breeds, Labradors are not predisposed to a large number of major health problems, but there are still potential issues that can occur with this breed. Most of them are related to the joints, eyes, and nervous system. The following list of common health issues in Labradors is not arranged in any particular order.

The health issues that Labradors are prone to:

  1. Orthopedic issues: elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, arthritis
  2. Obesity
  3. Eye problems: progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts, retinal dysplasia, entropion, ectropion
  4. Problems related to the nervous system: epilepsy, hereditary myopathy, exercise-induced collapse (ECI), laryngeal paralysis
  5. Cancer: osteosarcoma, lymphoma/lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, and mast cell tumors
  6. Bloat/Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV)
  7. Ear infections
  8. Cold tail/Limber tail syndrome
  9. Heart diseases: tricuspid valve dysplasia (TVD), cardiomyopathy
  10. Skin disorders: pyoderma, lick granuloma, lipoma
  11. Hypothyroidism
  12. Portosystemic shunts (PSS)

To reduce your pet’s health issues, it’s essential to exercise with him regularly because Labradors have a lot of energy and they require frequent physical activity. This doesn’t mean that you need to overdo it and bring the dog to exhaustion with excessive activity.

Since this breed is prone to obesity (like all other Retrievers), in addition to physical activity, it’s important to pay attention to diet as well. Furthermore, regular check-ups with veterinarians are vital in detecting and treating the aforementioned problems.

Golden Retriever Health Issues

Veterinary checking dog

Golden Retrievers are generally healthy and their average life expectancy is 12 – 15 years, but like with all other breeds, there are certain health issues that can occur.

The diseases listed below are not arranged in any specific order and doesn’t necessarily mean that all Golden Retrievers will face each of these health problems, but it’s important to be aware that this possibility exists.

Health issues that have been reported in Golden Retrievers so far are the following:

  1. Orthopedic issues: hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation, panosteitis, osteochondritis, cruciate ligament rupture
  2. Cancer: hemangiosarcoma, lymphosarcoma, mastocytoma, osteosarcoma
  3. Heart issues: subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS), cardiomyopathy
  4. Skin conditions: canine atopic dermatitis, lick granuloma, lipomas, skin allergies, sebaceous cysts, Sebaceous adenitis, seborrhea
  5. Eye problems: cataracts, distichiasis, entropion, ectropion, retinal dysplasia, pigmentary uveitis (GRPU)
  6. Ear infections
  7. Bloat/Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV)
  8. Von Willebrand’s disease
  9. Problems related to the nervous system: epilepsy
  10. Hypothyroidism

Goldens are prone to obesity so it’s important to monitor your pet’s calorie consumption and weight. They need a lot of physical activity, but it’s important not to overdo it and to pay attention to the intensity because otherwise, you will achieve a negative effect – problems with bones and joints can occur.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Health Issues

Dog in wild

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers or Chessies are hardy dogs but they are susceptible to a number of hereditary diseases.

The health problems listed below are not arranged in any particular order and it doesn’t mean that they will certainly occur in your pet, but their occurrence has been reported in a number of dogs of this breed.

The health issues that have been reported in Chessies over the years are the following:

  1. Orthopedic issues: hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, ACL rupture
  2. Eye problems: progressive retinal atrophy, entropion, cataracts, Cherry eye, retinal dysplasia
  3. Cancer: lymphoma
  4. Hypothyroidism
  5. Bloat/Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV)
  6. Heart diseases: subaortic stenosis
  7. Problems related to the nervous system: epilepsy, cerebellar abiotrophy, exercise-induced collapse (EIC), degenerative myelopathy (DM)
  8. Von Willebrand’s disease
  9. Skin conditions: ectodermal dysplasia/skin fragility, pyoderma, regional alopecia

To keep your Chessie healthy, provide him with enough physical activity and take him to the vet for regular check-ups to detect potential problems in time.

Flat-Coated Retriever Health Issues

Dog in wild looking

Flat-Coated Retrievers are prone to a number of serious genetic health problems and, compared to other dogs, they have a higher risk of developing cancer. Their average life expectancy is 10 – 12 years.

The following list of diseases is not listed in any particular order, which means that diseases that are at the top of the list are not more likely to occur in a dog and vice versa.

Health issues that Flat-Coated Retrievers are susceptible to:

  1. Eye problems: cataracts, glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy, eyelash abnormalities, ectropion, entropion
  2. Cancer: histiocytic sarcoma, lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, osteosarcoma, mastocytoma, melanoma, fibrosarcoma, adenocarcinoma, malignant histiocytosis
  3. Bloat/Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV)
  4. Skin conditions: lipomas, sebaceous cysts, pyoderma
  5. Problems related to the nervous system: epilepsy, laryngeal paralysis
  6. Orthopedic issues: hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, elbow dysplasia, osteochondritis, and panosteitis
  7. Spondylosis deformans
  8. Heart diseases
  9. Hypothyroidism
  10. Ear infections
  11. Megaesophagus

The Flat-Coated Retriever is an active sports dog and in order to stay healthy, physically and mentally, he needs to be provided with enough activity every day. Although it is impossible to predict whether and when a dog will get sick, by purchasing a puppy from responsible breeders you can reduce the risk of developing certain diseases. As with all other dogs, regular checkups at the vet are also important to keep your Flat-Coated Retriever healthy.

Curly-Coated Retriever Health Issues

Curly retriver standing

The three biggest health concerns in Curly-Coated Retrievers are hip dysplasia, heart disease, and epilepsy. But in addition, some other diseases have been reported in this breed. The list of diseases of Curly-Coated Retrievers below is not ranked according to any particular order.

Health issues that have been reported in Curly-coated Retrievers are the following:

  1. Orthopedic issues: hip dysplasia
  2. Problems related to the nervous system: epilepsy, exercise-induced collapse (EIC)
  3. Heart diseases: subaortic stenosis, patent ductus arteriosus
  4. Eye problems: cataracts, eyelid abnormalities (ectropion and entropion), eyelash abnormalities, corneal dystrophy, retinal dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), distichiasis, persistent pupillary membranes
  5. Skin conditions: allergies, follicular dysplasia
  6. Bloat/Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) 
  7. Hypothyroidism
  8. Von Willebrand’s disease
  9. Glycogen storage disease type IIIa
  10. Craniomandibular osteopathy

In order to detect potential health issues in time, it’s important to take your dog to the vet regularly. And if necessary, he will recommend further testing.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Health Issues

Dog standing next to his owner

Dogs of this breed are generally healthy, but as with all other breeds, there are certain health problems that can occur with Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers. The health issues mentioned below are not listed in any particular order, which means that Tollers are not more prone to diseases that are at the top and vice versa.

The health issues that Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are prone to are the following:

  1. Orthopedic issues: hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia
  2. Eye problems: Collie eye anomaly, progressive retinal atrophy
  3. Deafness
  4. Addison’s disease
  5. Hypothyroidism
  6. Problems related to the nervous system: epilepsy, aseptic meningitis, degenerative myelopathy (DM), degenerative encephalopathy
  7. Lupus
  8. Autoimmune hemolytic anemia
  9. Thrombocytopenia
  10. Colitis
  11. Cancer: Lymphoma
  12. Heart diseases: pulmonic stenosis, subaortic stenosis, mitral valve disease, and patent ductus arteriosus

Tollers should be taken for regular check-ups in order to spot any undesirable changes in a timely manner, so they don’t turn into something more serious.