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Common Goldendoodle Health Issues

By Mawoo Pets · 22 Mar · 8 mins read
Common Goldendoodle Health Issues

Are you a proud Goldendoodle owner, or perhaps you’re planning to welcome one of these family-friendly dogs into your home? There’s no doubt about it, Goldendoodles are charming companions who brighten up your home. But like any breed, Goldendoodles can be susceptible to certain health issues — both genetic and non-genetic.

It's important for Goldendoodle parents to have a clear understanding of these potential problems, to provide their beloved pet a long, happy, and healthy life.  In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the most common health issues that can affect your Goldendoodle, including how to recognize the early signs and what steps you can take for preventative care.

Genetic & Hereditary Conditions in Goldendoodles

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia 

This condition is prevalent in Goldendoodles due to their Golden Retriever and Poodle heritage. It is a genetically linked issue particularly common in larger dog breeds that causes the hip and elbow joints to develop abnormally. The issue lies in the abnormal wearing away of the joint cartilage, causing severe arthritis over time. This ailment can be quite painful for your beloved furry friend and, if undetected, may progress to a point of severely limiting their mobility. Early signs may include difficulties in climbing stairs, reluctance to jump or run, stiffness, and even pain. 

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) 

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is an inherited eye disorder commonly found in both Golden Retrievers and Poodles - and so it's naturally inherited by Goldendoodles too. This condition gradually impairs the dog's eyesight, eventually leading to complete blindness. The initial symptoms typically include night blindness, but as the condition progresses, daylight vision may also be impaired. You may also notice dilated pupils that reflect a shinier appearance of the eyes due to increase light reflection from the tapetum. Luckily, responsible Goldendoodle breeders conduct genetic testing to screen for this condition, and it is entirely possible for a Goldendoodle to live a full, healthy life when PRA is detected and managed early on. 

Von Willebrand's Disease (vWD) 

Von Willebrand’s Disease, commonly known as vWD, is another health issue that can potentially affect Goldendoodles, as it's especially common in Poodles. vWD is a genetic clotting disorder that leads to excessive bleeding, especially after an injury or surgery. Symptoms include prolonged bleeding even from minor wounds, nosebleeds, blood in stool or urine, and excessive gum bleeding. While there's no cure for this disease, it is manageable with early detection, medications, and precautions.

Hypothyroidism

Another common health issue in Goldendoodles is hypothyroidism, inherited from their Golden Retriever parents. This is a condition where the thyroid gland is unable to produce sufficient amounts of thyroid hormone, leading to a decreased metabolic rate. Symptoms range widely, from lethargy and weight gain to a dull coat and frequent skin infections. A more subtle symptom could be a change in their usual activity level, which is often overlooked. Does your Goldendoodle seem less active than usual? Or maybe, their coat isn't as vibrant as it used to be? It's essential to consult a vet if you notice any of these changes. They can confirm the diagnosis with a simple blood test, following which, hypothyroidism can be managed efficiently through life-long medication and regular check-ups.

Patellar Luxaction

Patellar luxation, also known as "trick knee" is a genetic condition where the kneecap (patella) dislocates or moves out of its normal location. This genetic condition is quite common in Goldendoodles due to their Poodle lineage, and can be more common in smaller Goldendoodles. A "skipping" gait or intermittent muscle lameness can be indicative of patellar luxaction. While mild patellar luxation could be managed with regular exercise and weight management, severe cases may require surgical intervention to correct the knee's structure and function. It's best to consult with your vet if you notice any unusual changes in your dog's mobility.

Non-Genetic Health Issues

Ear Infections

Goldendoodles are particularly prone to ear infections because their adorable floppy ears create a moist, warm environment where yeast and bacteria can grow. If these microbes multiply, they can causing infection, inflammation, and discomfort. Signs of an ear infection in your Goldendoodle may include frequent scratching, head shaking, redness, swelling, or an unusual odor from their ears. You might even notice your Goldendoodle showing signs of discomfort when their ears are touched. Don't ignore these symptoms. A vet can quickly diagnose an ear infection, and prescription medications, usually ear drops or ointments, can treat the infection effectively. 

Skin Allergies

Skin allergies are common in Goldendoodles and often a result of an allergy to specific foods, environmental factors like pollen, dust, or contact with certain materials. If your Goldendoodle develops a skin allergy, you may notice symptoms like itching, redness, and inflamed skin which can lead to hair loss in severe cases. It can even cause your fluffy friend to relentlessly scratch or bite the affected area, worsening the condition. If you notice signs of skin allergies in your dog, it's essential to consult with a veterinarian who will likely suggest diet changes, or recommend specialty shampoos or medications.

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) or Bloat

If your Goldendoodle's abdomen appears swollen or they seem restless and unable to find a comfortable position, it's vital to recognize these as potential signs of Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus, often simply termed 'bloat'. This concerning condition occurs when a dog's stomach becomes distended with gas and twists on itself, preventing escape of the gas and leading to rapid expansion. While it's common in larger breeds like the Goldendoodle, the exact causes are multifactorial and not fully understood, with factors like overeating, gulping food, and excessive exercise after eating sometimes contributing. If any signs of bloat are noticed, seek veterinary help immediately, as this condition is a serious threat to your dog's life.

Obesity

Goldendoodles are naturally energetic and playful dogs and require a balanced diet and regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight. Overfeeding and lack of exercise can cause your Goldendoodle to become overweight. As a Goldendoodle owner, it's vital to take proactive steps, such as portion control, healthy treats, and regular vet check-ups to ensure your furry friend maintains a healthy weight. Keep in mind that obesity can lead to a variety of serious health problems, including diabetes, arthritis, and decreased lifespan in dogs. The trimmer your Goldendoodle is, the more agile and active they can be!

Kennel Cough

The family-friendly Goldendoodles is renowned for its sociable and outgoing nature - a quality that can make them more prone to kennel cough, a highly contagious form of bronchitis that can spread in areas where dogs congregate (like kennels and dog parks). The condition, much like a common cold in humans, is spread through the air or by touching contaminated surfaces. Symptoms can be as simple as a dry, hacking cough, fever, or a runny nose. The prevention? Regular vaccination and maintaining a clean environment can minimize the chance of your Goldendoodle contracting this temporary but often uncomfortable illness. 

Recognizing Early Signs of Goldendoodle Health Issues

Changes in Eating Habits 

If your Goldendoodles seems disinterested in their food of late, it's cause for attention. Changes in appetite can indicate various health issues including digestive issues and dental problems. Some diseases can cause Goldendoodles to eat more, leading to weight gain. On the flip side, certain illnesses can decrease appetite, resulting in weight loss. 

Lethargy or Unusual Fatigue 

Goldendoodles are active dogs; therefore, if you notice that your pup suddenly seems sluggish or tires out quickly, don't turn a blind eye. This unusual fatigue could signal anything from heart disease to infections or metabolic disorders. It's important to have your pup checked by her veterinarian.  

Weight Changes 

Has your Goldendoodle mysteriously shed pounds or put on weight out of the blue? Dramatic weight changes, be it loss or gain, can hint at health concerns. Weight loss can reflect diseases like diabetes or kidney disease, while weight gain can be a signal of health issues such as hypothyroidism or other hormonal imbalance. 

Skin and Coat Changes 

The Goldendoodle's skin and hearty coat hold clues to their health. Sudden changes in their coat like hair loss, discoloration, or excessive shedding could indicate underlying health issues. From a skin perspective, keep an eye out for flaky skin, sores, lumps, and changes in skin color. The underlying issues can range from allergies to parasites or skin infections, so best to have your vet take a look.  

Behavioral Changes 

Does your Goldendoodle appear more anxious, exhibit destructive behaviors, or even show signs of aggression? Behavioral changes shouldn't be ignored. Other signs to look out for are restlessness and excessive panting. These behavioral changes can signal underlying pain or discomfort caused by a health issue, and a trip to the vet might be needed.

Preventative Care for Your Goldendoodle

Balanced Diet and Portion Control 

Goldendoodles thrive best on a balanced diet that's portion controlled. Much like us, they need a mix of proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats in their diet - but controlling how much they eat is also crucial to prevent overeating and obesity. So, work with your vet to identify a quality diet suited to your Goldendoodle's age, size, and activity level, and be vigilant about sticking to the recommended portion sizes.

Daily Exercise and Mental Stimulation 

A Goldendoodle without daily exercise is like a tank full of energy with no way to expend it. Frustrating, isn’t it? This active doodle breed requires a substantial amount of physical activity, with veterinarians recommending about 60 minutes daily for walks and supervised play. But that's not all; mental stimulation is just as important, ensuring they stay mentally sharp and preventing destructive behavior. Mental stimulation could encompass activities such as puzzle toys, obedience training, socializing with other dogs, or engaging games like hide and seek where they have to use their intelligence to succeed.

Proper Grooming and Coat Care 

One of the challenges of Goldendoodles is the regularly attention their coats require to prevent tangling and matting. Every 6 to 8 weeks, pencil in some professional grooming, or if you're up for it, learn the ropes of at-home grooming. During grooming sessions, be alert to detect early any signs of skin problems, such as redness, swelling, sores or odour, and promptly address them with the vet, as these could be indicative of underlying health conditions. 

Vaccinations and Parasite Prevention 

Vaccinations help make sure that your Goldendoodle doesn't fall prey to avoidable diseases caused by viruses. Equally crucial is regular deworming and external parasite prevention to keep those pesky fleas and ticks at bay. Generally, Goldendoodle puppies should start their vaccination schedule around six to eight weeks of age, with boosters every three weeks until they're about 16 weeks old. As for parasite prevention, follow your vet's recommendations, as the dosage and frequency varies by the type of medication and season. 

Conclusion

Being aware of the potential health issues your Goldendoodle may encounter is crucial as a loving pet owner. Knowing what conditions are common and what to look out for is critical, as early recognition can help mitigate risk of more severe complications. In parallel, make sure to provide regular exercise, grooming, a balanced diet, and timely vaccinations for your Goldendoodle, as they go a long way in keeping your Goldendoodle sprightly and fit. 

Indeed, the joys of having a healthy and happy Goldendoodle are simply immeasurable. A well-cared-for Goldendoodle will be a loyal companion, bringing boundless energy, affection, and positivity into your life. So take good care of your Goldendoodle to keep them golden! 


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