When selecting puppies from Labrador breeders there are a several important questions you should ask about the current and future health status of your dog. While a puppy might look healthy on the outside, he or she may have inherited the potential for serious illness from his parents. So what should you ask your breeder?
In particular, Labrador retrievers are susceptible to hip and elbow displaysia. Displaysias are potentially crippling disorders of the joints. It may be a good idea to try to find out from your Labrador breeders whether your dog may have inherited the potential to develop joint problems from his parents. Where possible good breeders should x-ray the hips and elbows of all breeding dogs and be able to tell you if this trait might have been passed on to their offspring.
are also likely to inherit potential eye problems from their parents. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is common in Labradors and it causes the vision to gradually fail, resulting in complete blindness. Your dog can be examined to see if he might be susceptible in the future. Labrador breeders should be honest with you about any eye problems that may occur in their dogs.
A disease called Retinal Dysplasia
causes variable loss of vision in Labrador retrievers but it's non-progressive. Labradors also have the potential to develop juvenile cataracts. However, juvenile cataracts usually don't cause any loss of vision. Since most Labrador breeders are not eye experts, it may be a good idea to have your dog examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist to get a reliable opinion on your dog's potential to develop these illnesses.
What about vaccinations? Reputable Labrador breeders should be able to produce a certificate of vaccination. This record should state which vaccines the dog has been given, when and from whom. Puppies need several vaccinations, including those for rabies and distemper. Ask your veterinarian about what shots your dog will need, based on his vaccination record.
Has your dog been dewormed and with what drug? Many Labrador breeders
routinely deworm their animals. Ask the breeder if the dog has been treated for parasites. If he hasn't, ask whether a fecal exam has been done to rule out the possibility that your dog is infected with worms via his parents or other dogs.
Heartworm is spread from dog to dog by mosquitoes. All puppies should be given heartworm preventative medicine and it should be used each year during mosquito season. Reputable breeders should have all their dogs on preventative medicine for heartworm.
As soon as you bring your dog home, have it examined by your vet to make sure it is in tip-top condition and ready to share your life! Labrador breeders who care about their dogs will be happy to share as much information as possible about the health of the dogs they sell with potential buyers.