Often called Labs, Labrador Retrievers are gentle, kid-friendly dogs which makes them one of the most popular breeds in the United States. This breed comes in three colors – black, yellow and chocolate – and most Labs are of medium size and strong build, having a broad forehead and a short, water-resistant coat. Though originally bred in Newfoundland to assist fishermen in dragging in nets, this breed has become known for its retrieval skills in hunting waterfowl. Labrador Retrievers are highly intelligent which, combined with their energy and desire to please their masters, makes them excellent guide dogs and useful additions to search-and-rescue teams.
A healthy Labrador Retriever should be expected to live between ten and thirteen years, though this breed is susceptible to several health problems including hip dysplasia, bone and joint problems, epilepsy and diabetes, which can shorten the lifespan. Pet insurance may help you cover treatment and medications for these conditions.
Hip dysplasia is a condition in which the femur does not fit into the hip socket correctly and it can lead to pain, inflammation, joint damage and even lameness. Though weight management, exercise and pain medications can be used to control this condition, surgery is often required. Surgical repairs involving total hip replacement can cost between $1,500 and $3,000 per hip and other surgeries involving the repair of the joint or removal of the femoral head cost around $2,500 for both hips.
Bone and Joint Problems
Bone and joint conditions such as osteoarthritis and osteochondritis dissecans are common in Labrador Retrievers. These conditions may cause stiffness, limping, bone degeneration and reduced activity. Osteochondritis dissecans, or OCD, involves the development of cracks in bones and cartilage which may heal over time with proper rest. Surgical repairs for osteochondritis dissecans and osteoarthritis generally cost between $1,000 and $2,500.
Epilepsy is a condition characterized by seizures and convulsions which can manifest in Labrador Retrievers between ages one and five and, if untreated, can be severe enough to result in death. This condition can be managed with anticonvulsant medications such as Phenobarbital or potassium bromide which may cost as little as $0.10 per dose. Regular blood work and other tests may be necessary which can cost as much as $300.
Canine diabetes is fairly common in dogs but females have a higher incidence of contracting the condition. This condition usually manifests between ages six and nine and is characterized by the inadequate production of insulin which leads to difficulty metabolizing sugars. Daily insulin injections, which generally cost around $50 per month, along with a healthy diet and weight management are generally sufficient to control the progression of this condition. Test strips and regular visits to the vet may also be needed, which add to the cost of treatment.
Disclaimer: Symptoms, conditions, and costs may vary. Consult a licensed veterinarian to inquire about treatment options and cost of care for your particular situation. Check actual coverage and benefits for your dog to determine whether you will be covered by pet insurance.