Most Common Health Concerns in Labradoodles

Labradoodles are an incredibly popular crossbreed for many reasons, including their intelligence, affectionate nature, and hypoallergenic coats. However, like any breed, they are susceptible to health issues. It’s important as a responsible pet owner to understand any potential concerns, and take necessary steps to manage, or prevent them. In this article, we will highlight the most common health problems that Labradoodles may face, as well as give you some helpful tips to keep them happy, and healthy!


Environmental Allergies

Environmental allergies are mainly seasonal. Dust, mold, pollen and dry skin are the main factors in environmental allergies. In the warmer months of Spring and Summer pollen can cause sneezing, red eyes, itchy skin and eye discharge. In the colder season, dry skin can cause itchiness and skin infections in your puppy. An easy fix for any of these conditions is to have a veterinarian put your puppy on an oral, or even injectable allergy and anti-itch medication to help alleviate the symptoms. There are also over the counter allergy medications you can give to your puppy, and with correct dosing and maintenance, can live an allergy free life.


Food Allergies

Food allergies are brought on by a sensitivity or intolerance to the protein in dog food. The main allergens in dog food can consist of chicken, beef, lamb, eggs, corn, wheat and milk. Allergies to certain foods can cause symptoms such as irritated skin, gastrointestinal issues (i.e., vomiting or puppy diarrhea), ear infections, and itchiness on your dog’s feet. Luckily the dog food industry carries a large variety of options that you can choose from to help your pet with their dietary needs. Speaking with a veterinarian about your pup’s food allergy and getting them on a strict diet they can tolerate will help alleviate issues your pet is having due to their food intolerance. 

Flea Allergies

Any breed can be susceptible to a flea allergy. The allergy comes from saliva when your pet is bitten by a flea. This reaction can present as bumps, rashs, and balding, mainly around the stomach, legs, and tail. In severe cases they can develop a skin infection and need to be put on antibiotics to treat their symptoms. Flea prevention is key when dealing with this allergy. Keeping your pet on a consistent flea medication and making sure the environment in your home and yard is treated to make sure it is flea free. If your pet does develop a flea allergy they can be treated for itchiness with allergy or anti itch medications prescribed by your veterinarian if needed.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is a health concern in several different breeds, including Labradoodles. The simple definition of Dysplasia in dogs is a malformation of a joint that can cause Laxity, discomfort, arthritis, and other long term puppy health issues. Hip dysplasia occurs when the ball of the femur bone does not fit correctly into the socket of the hip joint. This is most commonly found in medium to large breeds and can be present at a rate of 70% in some purebred dogs. This condition can start to develop when your dog is a young puppy and may not display any signs until they are older. In mild enough cases most dogs never display any signs and may go their entire life without ever being diagnosed. They will start to show symptoms such as weakness or pain in their back legs or hips if this develops into a severe enough condition. A veterinarian can diagnose hip dysplasia with a series of x-rays.  Treatment for hip dysplasia depends on the severity. Pain medications can be prescribed as needed, therapy and even surgery can be performed in severe cases. Most mild to moderate cases of hip dysplasia do not need surgical intervention. Maintaining a good diet and exercise routine to keep your dog from becoming overweight will help keep pressure off their hips. Luckily most Labradoodles don’t mind maintaining a good energetic exercise and playtime routine!

Progressive Retinal Atrophy-prcd (PRA)

PRA is a retinal disease that causes progressive, non-painful vision loss. The eye is made up of cells, one type being Photoreceptor cells. This disease slowly leads to early loss of these cells leading vision to deteriorate during the day and color loss. The age dogs will show symptoms can start at 18 months to 3 years of age. Currently, there is no cure or treatment for this degenerative disease, however there is a way to ensure your pet never suffers from this condition. In order to inherit the gene that causes PRA, a puppy must contain the mutated prcd gene. PRA is inherited in an Autosomal Recessive manner in dogs meaning that they must receive two copies of the mutated gene (one from each parent) to develop the disease. Speak with the breeder you are purchasing your Labradoodle from to make sure the parents have been genetically tested for this mutation.

Von Willebrands Disease (vWD)

Von Willebrands Disease is an inherited bleeding disorder that makes it difficult for the blood to clot. It is the most common bleeding disorder in dogs. This disease is caused by the lack of the Von Willebrand Factor Protein in the bloodstream that contributes to clotting. Symptoms of this disorder are frequent nose bleeds, bleeding from the mouth when baby teeth are lost, and prolonged bleeding after surgery or trauma. Most puppies with Von Willebrands disease will act completely normal, because the disorder will not present itself unless they have a trauma or surgery.  Once a puppy is diagnosed it is important to watch them for any minor scrapes or injuries that may bleed. A common surgical procedure, such as dental cleanings and extractions, can be reduced by maintaining good dental hygiene. Von Willebrand disease is inherited in an Autosomal Recessive manner in dogs, meaning that they must receive two copies of the mutated gene (one from each parent) to develop the disease. Speak with the breeder you are purchasing your Labradoodle from to make sure the parents have been genetically tested for this mutation. Before purchasing a Labradoodle from a breeder, it is important to talk with them and inquire about genetic testing for the parents to ensure that have been screen for the mutation.

Addisons Disease

Addisons Disease, also known as Hypoadrenocorticism (hy-poa-d-reno-cor-ti-cism) is an endocrine disease that affects the Poodle, and now affects the Labradoodle. Labradoodles can be more prone to Addisons, as it is a trait both Poodles and Labradors are susceptible to. It is a condition when your dog’s Adrenal Glands are not producing enough levels of the Corticosteroid Hormone. There are two small glands next to the kidneys that produce the “stress homone”. When the levels of the hormone are not being excreted into the body correctly this can cause internal and behavioral effects. In general, dogs with Addison’s may experience recurrent bouts of gastroenteritis, poor appetite, slow loss of body condition, and an inability to respond appropriately to stress. It’s important to note that the symptoms of Addison’s disease may wax and wane depending on the situation. This condition once diagnosed can be treated with routine bloodwork and hormone or steroid supplements depending on the severity and condition of the dog. There is currently no cure for Addison’s disease. With appropriate treatment and monitoring, many dogs will have an excellent prognosis and continue to live normal lives.