Labradors face higher risk of arthritis, study finds

It’s well known that dogs are more or less likely to develop certain conditions depending on their breed — so what about the UK’s most popular breed?

The Labrador Retriever has been the most popular dog breed in the UK for many years, but until now there has been limited reliable evidence on their general health compared with other dogs, according to the Royal Veterinary College (RVC).

Old brown labrador

A new study led by the RVC’s VetCompass programme compared the health of a random sample of 1,462 Labrador Retrievers with 20,786 dogs of other breeds.

The researchers compiled a list of the 35 most common disorders across both groups of dogs, including arthritis, ear infection and obesity. For 16 of these disorders, there was no significant difference in risk between Labradors and other breeds.

Labradors were found to have an increased risk of 12 disorders: arthritis (x 2.8), lipoma (fatty mass) (x 2.5), kennel cough (x 2.3), laceration (x 2.2), stiffness (x 2.1), papilloma (x 1.7), moist dermatitis (x 1.7), obesity (x 1.6), lameness (x 1.6), post-operative wound (x 1.6), ear infection (x 1.5) and diarrhoea (x 1.4).

There was a reduced risk of seven disorders among the Labradors in the study: patellar luxation (x 0.2), heart murmur (x 0.2), flea infestation (x 0.2), retained deciduous tooth (x 0.3), dental disease (x 0.4), aggression (x 0.4) and anal sac impaction (x 0.7).

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