Both Poodles and Golden Retrievers can have some pretty serious health issues of their own. So it’s only natural to wonder if the Goldendoodle, a Poodle-Golden Retriever hybrid, will inherit any of these health problems. Read on to find out.
What Health Problems Do Goldendoodles Have?
The Goldendoodle is a relatively healthy dog breed however, they can inherit a variety of joint, eye, and hormonal issues from either parent breed. Specifically they include:
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
- Luxating Patellas
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- Addison’s Disease
- Skin Cancers
- Autoimmune Thyroiditis
- Heart Disease
Some of these are treatable, while others have no cure. Let’s find out more details about each health issue.
Firslty, Why is it Important to Understand Goldendoodle Health Issues?
There are many different reasons why you might want to know what health issues your Goldendoodle might develop.
If you know what conditions your Goldendoodle might be more prone to suffering, then you will be able to identify them early.
For example, I had a dog that I knew was prone to lipomas. That meant that I knew to check her for lumps regularly. Because of this vigilance, when we did find one it was still very small, and the operation to remove it was less traumatic, with a shorter recovery time, than it would have been if it had been left to grow.
Understand Financial Implications
You should always prepare yourself financially for the worst-case scenario so that you can give your Goldendoodle the best chance at survival.
Of course, there are often unexpected diseases and injuries which may have nothing to do with genetics. But, at least having some knowledge of treatment will allow you to prepare for most cases.
Make Sure You Prevent What You Can
If you know all the health issues to look out for, you’ll be able to ask your breeder all of the right questions. This means you won’t get a Goldendoodle through an irresponsible breeder, preventing a host of possible genetic disorders.
You can also implement lifestyle changes, such as high-quality foods, to prevent some issues such as heart disease, which we’ll look at more down below.
Health Issues Goldendoodles Inherit from Both Parent Breeds
1. Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Hip and elbow dysplasia are diseases of the joints. Your Goldendoodle may have only one, or they may have both. Essentially, this is when there is an issue with the ball and socket joints that make up the hips and elbows.
Causes include over-exercising when your puppy is young, a poor diet, and a genetic predisposition.
Symptoms may be as simple as pain, and obvious difficulty using the front and back legs.
Treatment with surgery is an option, although that is not always the case. Most Goldendoodles who start showing signs of hip and elbow dysplasia are older, and surgery may be too risky at that point.
In cases like this, treatment with painkillers is usually recommended.
Bloat is a problem that affects larger dogs more than smaller ones. If you have a larger Goldendoodle, they will definitely be at risk.
Bloat, or Gastric Dilatation Volvulus, occurs when the Goldendoodle’s stomach turns because it fills with gas. This can be fatal. The only way to treat it is surgery, and that is only viable if diagnosed soon enough.
Symptoms include a stomach that is very hard to the touch and obvious pain indications, such as frothing at the mouth and crying.
Prevention is very important. Consider what causes bloating in humans; eating too fast, running on a full stomach, and eating the wrong foods. This is all true for dogs too.
Make sure that your Goldendoodle is fed a high-quality diet and does not run soon after exercise. If they eat very quickly you can also invest in a slow feeder.
Epilepsy comes from both the Poodle and the Golden Retriever, although it is more prevalent in Poodles. We do not understand much about epilepsy in dogs, but there does seem to be some relationship to genetics.
Epilepsy may not seem dangerous at first but can cause serious brain damage which can lead to death. Fortunately, many Goldendoodle puppies outgrow the condition by about 6 months or a year.
Treatment can include anticonvulsants. But those only treat symptoms, not the underlying problem.
4. Luxating Patellas
This is another joint issue that may affect your Goldendoodle. The patella is the kneecap, Luxating refers to movement. When the kneecap of the Goldendoodle moves unexpectedly, such as during exercise, it can cause a lot of pain and even damage the muscles and ligaments around it.
Treatment depends on the severity of the injury that results. It could be as simple as anti-inflammatories and bed rest. Or surgery may be required.
There is nothing that can be done to prevent luxating patellas as the Goldendoodle needs exercise. The only solution is to make sure that you ask your breeder if the parents have had any issues.
Health Issues Goldendoodles Inherit from Poodles
5. Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Goldendoodles have, unfortunately, inherited Progressive Retinal Atrophy (or PRA) from Poodles. This is where a collection of diseases cause the photoreceptors in the eye to die. At first, night blindness occurs, before it progresses into complete blindness.
There is no treatment for Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Goldendoodles. The degeneration of the photoreceptors can start as young as six weeks, or as late as four years.
Symptoms include issues seeing in the dark, or dim light. You may notice your Goldendoodle bumps into objects or is very hesitant to enter dark spaces.
6. Addison’s Disease
The hormones released by the adrenal gland on the kidney affect the thyroid gland and therefore affects almost all hormones in the body. For this reason, Addison’s disease, or an issue with the adrenal glands, can have serious consequences.
You may notice your Goldendoodle becomes very lethargic, and its hair changes texture or even starts falling out.
Sometimes, Addison’s disease is purely genetic. However, certain medications may also damage the adrenal glands and cause it.
Once a positive diagnosis has been made, treatment is simple. It does consist of chronic medication though, which can become very expensive.
7. Skin Cancers
Skin cancers in Goldendoodles are often a death sentence. Once the dog has been diagnosed, usually when raised bumps appear over their bodies, they rarely live more than a year.
There are some treatment options, including radiation and chemotherapy. But because these skin cancers occur in older dogs, they are often not strong enough to survive intensive treatments like this.
Prevention is pretty much the same for skin cancers in humans. Make sure that you keep your Goldendoodle out of the sun during the middle of the day, or use a sunscreen like this one. Try not to use any chemicals on the skin that cause damage, which can also cause cancer.
Health Issues Goldendoodles Inherit from Golden Retrieves
8. Autoimmune Thyroiditis
In humans, it is called Hashimoto’s. It happens when the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, causing it to malfunction.
Symptoms include lethargy, weight gain, loss of hair, and more.
Treatment is surprisingly simple. Any of the hormones the thyroid is not producing correctly can be taken in the form of a tablet. This medication can be quite expensive, and there is very little chance that your Goldendoodle will ever come off it.
9. Heart Disease
Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis is just one of the many different kinds of heart disease that Goldendoodles may be prone to. One of the most common symptoms is coughing and other breathing difficulties.
There are some forms of treatment. Sometimes medication is required. Other times, weight loss and diet changes may be sufficient.
In the worst cases, surgery may be required. Usually, when it gets to the point where surgery is required, life expectancy is only a year or two longer.
Allergies in Goldendoodles often present with symptoms of itching and flaky skin. It can be because of a reaction to food, or other things in the environment.
In my experience, kibble which includes chicken is a common culprit. Otherwise, shampoos with sulfates in them.
Treatment includes changing diet or shampoo. Otherwise, medication may be required if the allergen is something like dust or pollen.
Allergies are generally not serious and do not influence the life expectancy of your Goldendoodle.
Lymphoma is another kind of cancer that Goldendoodles are prone to. This is a cancer of the lymphatic system.
Symptoms include enlarged lymph nodes as well as a very high fever.
In some cases, treatment with chemotherapy is an option. But, most of the time, Goldendoodles diagnosed with lymphoma only live a few months after diagnosis.
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