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A pinch of woof and a dash of paw: Labrador Retriever.

Labrador Retrievers, also called Labradors or simply Labs are quite dynamic, loyal, obedient, fun-loving, and caring in nature. They are one of the most common breeds of domesticated companion dogs. They are quite friendly in nature and love to cuddle. Labrador Retrievers are commonly kept for companionship purposes however, they’re also an integral part of the Police Dog Squads, rescue teams, sporting and hunting. They may also be trained for guides or medical assistance purposes.

Today’s blog is all about Lab Retrievers- their features, their mystery history as well a few medical aids this breed of dog may need. Let’s dive into the world of Labrador Retrievers with a pinch of woof and a dash of a paw.

Features: The Happy Dogs- Labrador Retrievers.

Size: Medium dog breed

Built : Depends upon exercise and individuality. Usually on the obese side of not properly maintained.

Height : Medium- Tall.

Coat : Labrador Retrievers come in three distinct colour coats: Chocolate colour, Cream Yellow colour and black colour.

Chocolate coat colour is quite rare in the Labrador breed and is quite famous amongst dog lovers. Synonyms: Labradors, Lab.

Type : Retrieving dog breed.

Temperament: Intelligent, Loyal, Loving, Fun – Loving, Obedient, Friendly.

MYSTERY HISTORY: HISTORY OF LABRADOR RETRIEVER BREED.

Did you know: The Breed name Labrador is adopted from the region ‘Labrador’ from where this breed was imported into the United Kingdom.

This breed is a British Retriever breed of dog and was developed in the United Kingdom.This breed of dog was imported from a Canadian province (New Foundland). This breed dates back to around the 1830s when the dogs bred at the New Foundland region by the British settlers there were introduced to Britain via shipping and trade. These dogs imported from the New Foundland region were then bred with the hunting dogs of Britain which gave rise to the breed now known as Labrador Retrievers.

Growing Up With Labs:

Puppies are like rainbows mixed with a hurricane. They are goofy, funny, happy souls. Ensure that your electronics, especially, your earplugs and wires are at a safe distance from your furry babies. The way human kids are trained and inculcated with good mannerisms to ensure that they develop a good personality, in a similar manner, our puppies should be encouraged to develop good behaviour and must be rectified time and again for their bad ones. With apt encouragement and rectification coupled with proper discipline training and care, you can groom your dog into a perfect well behaved angel.

 

Puppies should be dewormed and vaccinated as per the regular schedule prescribed by the vet. Labs are prone to certain diseases which can be either totally avoided by ethical breeding practices or can be medically managed and cured. Let’s have a quick glance at a few diseases Labrador Retrievers may face.

Hip Dysplasia : Genetic Or Environmental?

Hip Dysplasia is a medical condition of the hip and usually runs through the family. Genetics plays a major if not massive role in Hip Dysplasia condition. However, it is again somewhat environmentally dependent.

Hip Dysplasia is the abnormal formation of the socket of the hip. Now the hip joint is referred to as Ball & Socket Joint. The ball or Femur (thigh bone) head and the socket or the hip joint should grow at a uniform rate.
Any abnormality in the growth rate either causes loseness or laxity of the joint. Thus, this condition causes Lameness and Arthritis in dogs.

Large breed dogs require special care and attention especially during the puppy phase. External suppliments such as Calcium, Vitamins, and Minerals such as Zinc are extremely important as they provide the necessary cushioning support to the body.

Here are the few dog breeds that are susceptible to getting Hip Dysplasia: 

These breeds are more prone to getting Hip Dysplasia than others. The reason behind this is  mostly due to genetic factors and that it runs in the family chart.  

– Labrador Retrievers 

– German Shepherds 

– Golden Retrievers                                                

– Boxers 

– Great Dane 

– Pugs 

– St. Bernard  

– French Bulldog 

Apart from genetic reasons, there are certain reasons that may accentuate the process of Hip  Dysplasia. 

Factors such as – Excessive growth rate

– Extreme Exercising routines: A little too much exercise can put unwanted strain on the joints of  the body especially the weight bearing ones. The hip joint particularly can get affected by  extreme exercising and make the joints weaker.

– Slippery floors: Rough floors provide grip while walking whereas slippery floors such as marble  can cause the hind limbs to slip which again puts pressure on the joints.

– Overweight/ Obese dogs: Obesity puts more pressure on the hips which makes the dog prone to  Hip Dysplasia.

– Inadequate weight management

– Improper Nutrition.

WATCH OUT: SIGNS & SYMPTOMS.

Signs of Hip Dysplasia are pretty evident by the way a pet walks. Usually one may observe slipping, unable to place a grip on the floor while walking with dogs. Let us have a look at all the possible signs and symptoms of Hip Dysplasia..

Altered Gait: Gait is the manner in which our dogs walk. It is the pattern of limb movement during locomotion. Usually the gait is well balanced and the dog puts even pressure on all 4 legs equally. In Hip Dysplasia condition, the gait is affected due to improper movements of the hip joint.

– Lameness

-Having trouble getting up, jumping on sofa/bed or car.

– Abnormal sitting position

– Cracking/Popping sounds from the joints

– Limping with no history of trauma

As simple as this may sound, paying close attention to the walking style can act as an important key to determining the physical health status of your pet. Next time, when you take your dog on a walk, notice any particular change which is quite evident. Notice the way your dog walks, if they:

– Limp while walking

– If limping, which leg

– If you notice your pet not placing one limb on the ground [due to any reasons] – If your pet is not as enthusiastic about walking as they were before – If your pet is not able to or not willing to walk for a long time

These signs can hint towards mobility issues [ due to hip, bone, muscle, etc.]

How To Figure It Out: Diagnosis.

As we mention in most of our blogs, diagnoses are the key to successful treatment. If the causative agent is due to a motor car accident, we may look into fracture or bruises etc as the troublemaker. However, if in the absence of trauma, your dogs/cats experience signs of pain, discomfort, lameness, and walking/climbing/jumping issues, the Veterinarian may shift their attention to figuring out who or what is the cause of all causes. Here are some of the tests which may be recommended by your vet.

1. X-RAY – An X-Ray would be warranted to rule out fractures or any bone deformities. X-rays are highly efficient in imaging the bones and bone-processes and thereby help us to figure out where exactly the fracture or the bone deformity lies. The bone deformities could be due to ageing or due to genetic factors such as Hip Dysplasia or due to nutritional deficiency [e.g., Rickets in puppies] An X-Ray can also help us figure out whether the issue lies at the joints and whether the joints are getting worn out/ due to immune mediated rheumatoid arthritis.

2. Blood test – to rule out any infections which can affect the mobility of dog. For instance, in rheumatoid arthritis, a special blood test to check out for “Rheumatoid Factor” can be done too. However, this factor is not that sensitive as even dogs with no rheumatoid arthritis can have this factor shown up in the test.

3. Synovial Fluid Test – Synovial Fluid is present in the joints of all animals including humans. This fluid acts as a shock absorbent, which helps in the maintenance of proper movement and mobility of the joints which of course has a huge role to play as it also helps in locomotion. The synovial fluid is analysed and if affected with inflammation [arthritis] will show characteristic typical changes. Cells involved in inflammation are present in large numbers, which is indicative of a inflammation process occurring within the joint capsule. The fluid is usually cloudy in appearance and is of a thinner consistency than normal in such cases of arthritis

4. Biopsy of tissue and CT scans can also aid in diagnostics.

The Way Out: Treatment And Management.

Hip Dysplasia is attributed to certain genetic factors coupled with poor habits and obesity. It is  essential to keep an eye out for any of unnatural behaviour our pets may exhibit hinting towards  joint-bone-related problems. When we catch diseases or disorders at an early stage, we can  essentially improve the standard of living of our pets at the earliest and provide them with good  medical facilities and treatment. Let us have a look at some of the medical treatment options: 

1. CHANGE OF HABITS AND LIFESTYLES : A minor change every day on a small-scale basis can help your pets in the long run. Lifestyle invariably is coupled or intertwined massively with diseases and disorders. What you can do is, opt for a good healthier lifestyle. If your pet has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia for instance, your Vet may suggest you to alter your dogs’ feeding habits and losing weight could ultimately prove to be helpful in long term management of such disorders. No more puppy eyes and overfeeding!

2. LIMITING UNWANTED STRESS ON JOINTS : Jumping, running excessively, straining joints is totally not acceptable when in case your pet has joint related issues. Until recovery or until the major signs of joint-pain and discomfort subsides, ensure that your pet has limited to no access to such sofas/beds/etc which may require them to jump/run/move too frequently in such a manner that it may put undue strain on the joints hampering their recovery process.

3. JOINT SUPPLEMENTS : Joint supplements are one such important tool which provides necessary elements which helps comfort, subside signs and improve the standard of living extensively. These supplements usually contain Chondroitin Sulphate, Glucosamine hydrochloride, Omega-3 fatty acids Hyaluronic Acid, and such related contents which are exclusively important for joint health.

4. HOMEOPATHIC SUPPLEMENT : Me & My mobility Pet supplementation is very useful for the pets’ showing symptoms of articular or muscular rheumatism with or without inflammatory and febrile complaints. Other symptoms like stiff neck, rheumatic pain in the shoulders, twitching, stiffness and pain in the joints, cracking of joints, etc., are also managed.

Me& My Calcium supplement helps in growth and development of bones.

Supplements are a good way to ensure that our pets are provided with the extra cushioning support of essential minerals and help to manage the condition of Hip Dysplasia. Labradors are prone to put on weight due to genetic reasons which can worsen this condition therefore, proper weight management is very important in case of Labrador Retrievers. With apt treatment and excellent management care your pets can live a happier, healthier and better life!

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