What are the signs of an unhealthy labradoodle? There are many different symptoms that can indicate your beloved companion isn’t feeling so great. If you don’t know your dog well, then I would recommend you to spend some time getting to do so. What are his typical character and temperament? Lively or sedate, playful or serious? Happy to be alone or loves to be with people? A keen appetite or a fussy eater?
You may think that your labradoodle cannot talk, but he can! If you know your dog, his character and habits, then he can tell you when he is not well. He does this by changing his patterns. Some symptoms are physical, some emotional, and others are behavioral. You need to be able to recognize these changes as soon as possible. Early treatment can be the key to keeping a simple problem from snowballing into a severe illness.
If you think your Labradoodle is unwell, it is useful to keep an accurate and detailed account of his symptoms to give to the vet. It will help him or her to correctly diagnose and treat your dog effectively. Most canine illnesses are detected through a combination of signs and symptoms. Here are some signs that your dog may be unwell:
- 1 Four Vital Signs of Illness
- 2 5 Common Labradoodle Health Issues
Four Vital Signs of Illness
A newborn puppy will have a temperature of 94 – 97º F. This will reach the average adult body temperature of 101º F at about four weeks old. Anything between 100 – 102º F is normal. Like all dogs, a Labradoodle’s temperature is normally taken via the rectum. Be careful when doing this – especially with lively Doodles. It’s easier to get someone to hold your dog while you do this.
Digital thermometers are pretty good, but only use the ones made explicitly for rectal use. Ordinary glass thermometers can easily break off. Ear thermometers are available these days that make the task much more comfortable, although they might be expensive and do not suit all dogs’ ears.
Another symptom of the canine illness is a change in breathing patterns. It varies a lot depending on the size and weight of the dog. An adult dog will have a respiratory rate of 15-25 breaths per minute when resting. You can easily check this by counting your dog’s breath for a minute with a stopwatch handy. Don’t do this if the dog is panting because panting doesn’t count.
You can feel for your dog’s heartbeat by placing your hand on his lower rib cage – just behind the elbow. Don’t be alarmed if the heartbeat seems irregular compared to a human. It is irregular in many dogs. You can ask your vet to show you how to check your dog’s heartbeat so you can get used to it.
- Big dogs like Standard Labradoodles have an average rate of 70 – 120 beats per minute.
- Medium Labradoodles have an average rate of 80 – 120 beats per minute.
- Small dogs like Miniature Labradoodles have an average rate of 90 – 140 beats per minute.
Classic symptoms of dogs’ illness are any inexplicable behavior changes. If there has not been a change in the household atmosphere, such as another new pet, a new baby, moving home or the absence of a family member, then the following symptoms may well be a sign that all is not well with your Labradoodle:
- Falling or stumbling
- Loss of appetite
- Walking in circles
If your dog shows any of these signs, then he needs to be kept under close observation for a few hours or even days. Quite often, he will return to normal of his own accord. Like humans, dogs have off-days too. If he is showing any of the above symptoms, then do not over-exercise him and try to avoid stressful situations. Make sure he has access to clean water. There are many other signals of ill health, but these four are the most important.
Keep a record for your vet. If your Doodle does need professional medical attention. Most vets will want to know –
WHEN the symptoms first appeared?
WHETHER they are getting better or worse, and
HOW FREQUENT are the symptoms? Are they intermittent, continuous, or increasing in frequency?
In this article, we will talk about five common Labradoodle health issues that may affect your Labradoodle and their signs. It is by no means a complete list, and if you are at all worried about your dog’s health, make an appointment to see a vet.
5 Common Labradoodle Health Issues
PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy)
PRA is the name for several progressive diseases that lead to blindness. Labradors, Labradoodles, Australian Labradoodles, Golden Retrievers, and Goldendoodles are among the breeds and crossbreeds which may be affected by the disease.
The specific genetic disorder which may affect Labradoodles is called prcd-PRA (progressive rod-cone degeneration PRA.) It causes cells in the retina at the back of the eyes to degenerate and die, even though the cells seem to develop usually early in life. The ‘rod’ cells operate in low light levels and are the first to lose normal function—night blindness results.
Then the ‘cone’ cells gradually lose their normal function in full light situations. Most affected dogs will eventually go blind. Typically, the symptom appears first in early adolescence or early adulthood. Conditions that might look like prcd-PRA could be another disease and might not be inherited. It is important to remember that not all retinal disease is PRA, and not all PRA is the prcd form of PRA. Annual eye exams by a veterinary ophthalmologist will build a history of eye health that will help to diagnose disease.
Prcd-PRA is inherited as a recessive trait. It means that the faulty gene must be inherited from each parent to cause disease in offspring. In other words, each parent was either a carrier or sufferer. It has been proven that all breeds tested for pcrd-PRA have the same mutated gene, even though the disease may develop at different ages or severities from one breed to another. 
Sadly, there is no cure, but to prevent prcd-PRA in future generations, the breeders must test dogs before breeding.
Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) is the most common cause of hind leg lameness in dogs. It is a hereditary condition that occurs mainly in large, fast-growing dogs such as Standard Labradoodles.
Several factors contribute to the development of the disease, and some breeds are genetically predisposed to the disease, including Labradors, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Giant Schnauzers. Smaller breeds may also suffer, but the effects are not as obvious.
Hip dysplasia is caused when the head of the femur (thigh bone) fits loosely into a shallow and poorly developed socket in the pelvis. Most dogs with dysplasia are born with healthy hips, but due to their genetic make-up and possibly other factors such as diet, the soft tissues that surround the joint develop abnormally.
The joint carrying the weight of the dog becomes loose and unstable, and muscle growth lags behind healthy development. It is often followed by degeneration joint disease or osteoarthritis, which is the body’s attempt to stabilize the loose hip joint. Early diagnosis gives your vet the best chance to tackle the problem and minimize the possibility of arthritis developing. Symptoms range from mild discomfort to extreme pain. A puppy with canine hip dysplasia usually starts to show signs between five to thirteen months old.
- Lameness in hind legs, particularly after exercise
- Difficulty or stiffness when getting up or climbing uphill
- A ‘bunny hop’ gait
- Dragging the rear end when getting up
- Waddling rear leg gait
- A painful reaction to stretching the hind legs, resulting in a short stride
- A side to side sway of the croup (area above the tail) with a tendency to tilt the hips down if you push down on the croup
- A reluctance to jump, exercise or climb stairs
As with most conditions, early detection leads to a better outcome. Your vet will take x-rays to make a diagnosis. Treatment is more towards preventing the hip joint from getting worse and decreasing pain. Various medical and surgical procedures are now available to ease the dog’s discomfort and restore some mobility.
Treatments depend upon several factors, such as the dog’s age, how bad the problem is, and how much money you can afford to spend.
Management of the condition usually consists of restricting exercise, keeping body weight down, and then managing pain with analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs. In many cases, surgery may be an option, especially with older dogs.
Canine bloat is a severe medical condition that requires urgent medical attention. Without it, the dog can die. Bloat is known by several different names: twisted stomach, gastric torsion, or Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV). It occurs when the dog’s body becomes overstretched with too much gas.
The reasons for it are not fully understood, but there are some well-known risk factors. Bloat occurs mainly in large breeds, particularly those with deep chests like Great Danes, Doberman Pinschers, and Standard Labradoodles. It can also happen to smaller dogs.
It also happens more to the dogs over seven years of age (not exclusively), and it is more common in males than in females. The risks increase if the stomach is full, either with food or with water. A dog that is fed once daily and eats very quickly could be at higher risk. Exercising after eating or after a big drink also increases the risk, and stress can also act as a trigger.
Bloat can kill a dog in less than an hour. If you suspect that your Labradoodle has bloat, then get him into the car and off to the vet immediately. Even with treatment, mortality rates range from 10% to 60%. With surgery, this drops to 15% to 33%.
Bloat occurs when gas goes in as the dog eats or drinks. It can happen with or without the stomach twisting. As the stomach swells with gas, it can rotate 90 to 360 degrees. The twisting stomach traps air, food, and water inside and bloated organ stops blood flowing properly to the veins in the abdomen that leads to low blood pressure, shock, and even damage to internal organs.
Bloat is extremely painful, and the dog will show signs of distress, although it may be difficult to distinguish them from other types of stress. Your Doodle may stand uncomfortably or seem to be anxious for no apparent reason. Another symptom is dry retching: the dog will often attempt to vomit every five to thirty minutes, but nothing is fetched up, except perhaps foam.
Other signs include swelling of the abdomen, general weakness, difficulty breathing, rapid panting or drooling, or excessive drinking. His behavior will change, and he may do some of the following: whine, pace up and down, look for a hiding place or lick the air.
Bloat is an emergency condition. Take your Doodle to a vet immediately.
Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia (TVD) is a cardiac defect that affects some Labradors. It is congenital and inherited. Because it is present in some Labradors, it may affect a small percentage of Labradoodles of whatever cross. The tricuspid valve is one of four heart valves, and if a puppy inherits the TVD gene or genes, then this valve will be malformed. It will not form a tight seal and allow blood to leak and flow back the wrong way. A puppy may be mildly or severely affected. In mild cases, the dog may live an average life span.
This problem may not be obvious, but there are some signs to look out for are fluid retention (usually noticed as unexplained weight gain), cold extremities, and an intolerance to exercise. Many dogs, however, will exhibit no signs until heart failure occurs.
A physical examination should find any leak from a faulty valve significant enough to cause health problems. Usually, a heart murmur will be heard with a stethoscope, although with extremely mild cases, this may not be so.
If a heart murmur is detected in a young labradoodle, your vet will perform chest x-rays and an ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis and extent of the problem. There are other congenital heart problems besides TVD, so a full cardiac examination is essential to identify the exact problem.
There is currently no cure for TVD, and treatment will depend on the severity of the condition. Mild cases may require no treatment whatsoever. More severe cases will be treated according to the symptoms.
This is not an issue that mainly affects Labradoodles any more than any other type of dog. It can affect dogs of all breeds, sizes, and genders.
There are two types: diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus.
Diabetes insipidus can cause by a lack of vasopressin, a hormone that controls the kidney’s absorption of water.
Diabetes mellitus occurs when the dog’s body does not produce enough insulin and cannot successfully process sugars.
The most common form is Diabetes mellitus that affects one in 500 dogs. Labradoodles have a moderate risk of contracting this. Thanks to modern veterinary medicine, the condition is now treatable and need not shorten your Labradoodle’s lifespan or interfere with his quality of life. However, if left untreated, the disease can lead to cataracts, increasing weakness in legs, other ailments, and even death. In dogs, diabetes is typically seen anywhere between the age of four to fourteen months, with a peak at seven to nine years. Both males and females can develop it.
The most common symptoms of diabetes in dogs include:
- Extreme thirst
- Excessive urination
- Weight loss
- Increased appetite
- Coat in poor condition
- Vision problems due to cataracts
Treatment starts with the right diet. Your vet will prescribe meals low in fat and sugars. He will also recommend medication. Many cases of canine diabetes can be successfully treated with diet and medication. More severe cases may require insulin injections.