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Links to information about important diseases in the Labrador
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EIC - Exercise Induced Collapse

A syndrome of exercise intolerance and collapse (EIC) has been found in young adult Labrador Retrievers. A comprehensive study is underway to evaluate affected dogs and to try to establish an efficient means of diagnosis as well as to gain some insight into the cause of the collapse.
The gene has been identified and a DNA test is available . Inheritance is autosomal recessive - the abormal gene must be carried by both parents before an affected puppy is produced carrying two copies of the gene.

Affected dogs have been found in both show and field trial lines in many countries The symptoms can vary considerably from no sign of colapse in a diagnosis which has been DNA confirmed to severe intolerance of exercise. Commonly, affected dogs can tolerate mild to moderate exercise, however 5 to 20 minutes of strenuous exercise can induce weakness followed by collapse. The first sign is usually a rocking or forced gait followed by weakness in the rear limbs and the inability to support weight. In some cases, this progresses to forelimb weakness and occasionally to a total inability to move. Some dogs appear to be uncoordinated and lose their balance. While most dogs remain totally conscious and alert, others may appear stunned or disoriented during the episode.

More Information

KC published Results
Exercise Induced Collapse

PRA prcd

Progressive Retinal Atrophy is an eye disease in which there is progressive rod cone degeneration which results first in loss of vision in poor light, then to total blindness. The speed of vision loss is very variable with some affected dogs retaining reasonable vision in good light for several years. Age at onset is  around 3-5 years. Inheritance is autosomal recessive - both parents must carry the abnormal gene. The gene has been identified and a DNA test is available patented by Optigen.

The Health sub committee strongly recommends that at least one parent in any mating must be tested clear. Thus no affected puppies will be produced. The Committee have proposed this to the Kennel Club requesting that they do not register puppies from a mating without a clear parent


KC published Optigen Test results for prcd PRA


If a DNA test is available

Breeding recommendation

If breeding from a carrier (or affected dog or bitch) they should always be mated to a DNA tested clear dog or bitch (no puppies bred will be affected by the disease but puppies may carry the mutant gene) and the puppies registration documents should be endorsed at the time of KC registration “progeny not eligible for registration” by the breeder so that genetic advice is used prior to any future breeding being carried out.


Hip Dysplasia

The Labrador retriever does have substantial levels of hip displasia but the prevalence is not known.. It is due to the faulty fitting of femoral head and acetabulum. - hip joint. Erosions and osteoarthritic changes occur with increasing age . Severe hip dysplasia causes gait problems and exercise intolerance. Commonly first signs of lameness and 'bunny hopping' show at 7-9 months of age. Xray is the only way of making a definite diagnosis- see plates below.
Studies of Hip scores and Pedigrees have shown that HD is partly inherited with the sire having a stronger influence than the dam. Several genes have been identified each implicated in different aspects of the malformation but as yet no DNA test is available.
Exercise, body weight and diet are probably also factors in the disease process,

Currently the only way to reduce the incidence of Hip Dysplasia s to Xray all dogs before they are bred from and submit plates to the KC/ BVA scoring scheme.- details in link below. Maximum score for each hip is 53 and maximum Total score = 106.

The lower the score the better. The average total score for the breed is 15


Examples of perfect normal hips and severe dysplastic hips

Normal Hips Total score 0


Severe Hip Dysplasia - Total score 93


BVA Information leaflet

Progeny tables published by the Labrador Retriever Club

OCD - Osteochondritis Dissecans

Most commonly seen as Elbow Dysplasia but also occurs in Hock and Shoulder Joints.  OCD is a degeneration of bone underlying the cartilage layer of joints. It almost always shows up during the growth phase — between six to nine months of age. It may start as an intermittent limp in one leg. Many young dogs with OCD run and play as though nothing is wrong but when they slow down they realize the limb hurts and the limp returns. Contributing factors to OCD include physical impacts, such as jumping off high places, and being overweight. There is thought to be a genetic component but as yet this has, as yet, not been proven. However it has been observed that dogs with abnormal elbow scores tend to produce more affected progeny - thus testing all breeding animals is recommended. Diagnosis is by Xray taking three different views. There is a screening program for Elbows run by KC/ BVA. - plates are submitted for scoring 0 being clear, 1 mild, 2 moderate, 3 severe

Very detailed Veterinary information

The B.V.A. Elbow Dysplasia Scheme

BVA Information Leaflet

Progeny tables published by the Labrador Retriever Club



Centronuclear Myopathy

CNM is a disease where the muscles of the Labrador do not develop properly. Affected pups have missing tendon reflexes as well as less weight gain than others by four weeks of age.

The more obvious symptoms of CNM appear when a pup is between twelve and twenty weeks of age. The pup will begin to stumble and fall when trying to walk. There are difficulties in swallowing since the muscles in the esophagus are affected. Food can then gets into lungs causing pneumonia. The symptoms are typically worse in cold weather. The symptoms remain for the entire life of the dog.

So far, there is no cure for the disease.  Medications do not improve the condition since there are missing muscle fibers that will never appear.

This disease has been found in UK Labradors, the majority being in working lines.

Information on the disease and Laboratory which offers the DNA test


CNM DNA test results -
( KC website)

List of Clears & carriers


Epilepsy is a chronic condition characterized by recurrent seizures. Seizures are the result of muscle responses to an abnormal nerve-signal burst from the brain.
Primary or Idiopathic Epilepsy, where fits occur with no known cause, is possibly inherited.

.Most dogs with Epilepsy suffer their first seizure between the ages of one and five years. A genetic basis for Idiopathic Epilepsy is strongly suspected in several breeds including the Labrador Retriever.

It is strongly recommened by the LBC Health Committee that dogs suffering from Epilepsy are not bred from