Dog Breed Health Spotlight: Labrador Retrievers


Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 7.52.39 PMLabrador Retrievers are beloved for their loyalty and friendliness, and their happy, tail-wagging nature makes them the perfect pet for families with children. This has earned them the title of America’s favorite dog, and by no coincidence, they’re also top on the list of PetFirst’s most insured purebred dog breed.

Unfortunately, just like any other family member, your Lab is prone to bouts of illness and injury, so it’s good to have a general idea about some of their main health risks. For your convenience, here’s a list of some of the most common pet insurance claims PetFirst receives for Labradors:

1. Gastroenteritis/Gastritis: Caused by bacterial infection, the Labrador stomach lining can commonly become inflamed. Diarrhea and vomiting are symptoms, and it’s common with the Labrador breed specifically because of their affinity for chewing on (and swallowing) everything they can get a hold of (after all, carrying things, or retrieving, is what they were bred to do).
The average vet bill for these two ailments is around $483.

2. Dietary Indiscretion: Another cause of vomiting and diarrhea, dietary indiscretion is less severe than gastroenteritis and gastritis (think of it as dog food poisoning). It also happens when a retriever ingests something it shouldn’t.
The average vet bill for this ailment is around $540.

3. UTI: Labradors develop urinary tract infections when bacteria gains entry into their bladders. Painful urination and urine dribbling are symptoms to look for, as painful bladder stones are prevalent in this breed.
The average vet bill for this ailment is around $277.

4. Lipoma: This is a cluster of fat cells growing just under your dog’s skin, also called tumors. Most owners are likely familiar with tumor growth in their senior-aged Labradors. Luckily, lipomas are benign and won’t spread, but can still cause health issues. Treatment often involves surgery, but there are alternatives.
The average vet bill for this ailment is around $276.

5. Colitis: Another inflammatory disease of the colon, colitis occurs when your dog’s digestive system is impaired and can’t retain water. Causes could be infection, food allergies or your Lab sinking his teeth into something his stomach doesn’t agree with yet again.
The average vet bill for this ailment is around $205.

6. Dermatitis: Dermatitis is a genetically-predisposed skin allergy which causes itching, leading to skin damage and infection. This diagnosis is complicated and involves a process of elimination.
The average vet bill for this ailment is around $158.

7. Otitis: When your dog has long, floppy ears like the Labrador breed, this type of ear infection can be common. Symptoms include your dog shaking their head in discomfort and the presence of a foul-smelling discharge coming from the ear.
The average vet bill for this ailment is around $110.

8. Conjunctivitis: AKA, “pinkeye.” A common infection often caused by bacteria. Any dog can get pink eye, but certain breeds, like Labradors, are especially vulnerable due to genetic makeup. Symptoms include eye redness, discharge, and swelling.
The average vet bill for this ailment is around $77.

Labrador health issues can often lead to expensive veterinary visits, but there are a number of affordable pet insurance plans that can help minimize costs after sudden illnesses or unexpected accidents. Owning a pet is a responsibility that requires planning and patience, but a knowledgeable owner can ensure that, no matter what the ailment, animal or breed, his or her pet will receive the care needed for a happy and healthy life.



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