Golden Retrievers are a breed that, unfortunately, have a reputation for many bad health problems. So, please educate yourself about them so that, together, we can avoid these hereditary health problems. A healthy Golden is worth its weight in "GOLD"!!!According to the Code of Ethics of the GRCA (Golden Retriever Club of America), it is recommended that any Golden to be considered for breeding purposes be screened for hereditary defects in the following areas:
Hips, Elbows, Eyes, & Heart
The following is an excerpt taken from the book "Golden Retrievers for Dummies" and clearly and concisely explains the importance of these health screenings:
Healthy parents, healthy pups
The sire [dad] and dam [mom] of any Golden [Retriever] litter you consider should carry the standard health clearances for hips, eyes, heart, and if at all possible, elbows. All these dog parts can be defective. If either parent has hip dysplasia (poor development of the hip joint), cataracts, heart disease, or shoulder or elbow disorders, it's a good bet they could pass that condition along to their kids.
Here are some specific areas to keep a watchful eye on:
....an OFA rating...indicating it has been declared free of hip dysplasia by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), which is the official hip clearing house for dogs..... [I have more to say about how important OFA certifications are. You can read about this towards the bottom of this page.]
Eye clearances are registered with the Canine Eye Registry Foundation [CERF], which provides its own numbered certificate of clearance. However, some dogs with eye clearances may not be registered with CERF. In those cases, the breeder should be able to produce Board-certified ophthalmologist certificates stating that both parent's eyes have been examined and found to be free of hereditary cataracts.
Even the dog's heart needs another letter of approval. This time, the letter should be from a Board-certified cardiologist stating that both the parents' hearts were tested and found to be free of a heart disease called Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis (SAS). This horrible disease involves a stricture in the left ventricle of the heart, which restricts the blood flow out of the heart, leading to sudden and unexpected death after normal activity or exercise.
*Allergies and thyroid problems:
Avoid pups from parents who have chronic allergies or are on thyroid medication.
*TIP* It's great if you can find health clearances on a puppy's grandparents and other ancestors. The stronger the gene pool, the healthier the offspring (puppies).
[End of excerpt.]
Here's more info about OFA certifications:
When a puppy's parents are OFA certified it means that the pup's dad and mom were brought to a veterinarian to have its hips x-rayed. Next, the vet looked at the x-ray of the dogs hips, looking for any signs of hip dysplasia (HD). Once the vet detects no obvious problems, he/she will then mail the x-rays to be evaluated by more specialized veterinarians at the foundation called OFA or OVC (Ontario Veterinary College). These specialists will then evaluate the x-rays. Dogs found without any signs of HD will be given an OFA/OVC certification.
This is so important to know in Golden Retrievers because, according to statistics put out by OFA, Goldens are one of the top 20 breeds of dogs to have this genetic/hereditary disease known as hip dysplasia (HD). In a dog with severe HD, it can have a crippling effect, making walking painful and sometimes even impossible. In dogs with moderate HD, one can notice a slight limp in the dog's walk. An observant owner will also notice that their dog is inactive- not wanting to run or play very much. The scary part is that a dog can also have HD so mildly that it is only detectable by x-ray. While this dog may seem to be ok and have a normal life, if bred, this disease can be spread to his/her puppies; and the puppies can have it worse than the parents - making the dog's life painful.
So what's the big deal? Chances are my dog won't have it, right? . . . Wrong! According to more OFA statistics, approximately 20% of Golden Retrievers have bad hips- that's 1 out of 5 !!!
So, please, if you're looking for a Golden Retriever, please get one whose both parents are OFA or OVC certified. Even if the parents "seem" to have good hips, chances are, they could be bad; and you really cannot know for sure unless their hips have been x-rayed. Unfortunately, although there's no 100% guarantee that the pup won't have HD, getting a pup from OFA or OVC certified parents definitely minimized the chances.
As with all hereditary diseases, we as breeders, do what we can to screen for these problems but understand that there's still a chance, regardless of how hard we try, that pups may still develop problems. But we love Goldens and will continue to do the best we can to minimize their health problems. It would break my heart for any of our puppies to have even the smallest problem arise, but we completely stand behind our pups and offer a full written health guarantee!! Contact me for a copy of our comprehensive guarantee.
I hope this information is helpful in your research on Golden Retrievers. Good luck in your search for a puppy and if I can help in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Check out our Available Puppies page for news on our planned litters for the spring and summer of 2014!
Thanks to Monica of Grindol's Goldens in Louisiana, for putting this information on her website. Once I came across it, I knew I had to have it on my website, so I emailed her to ask her permission to use the information and of course being a responsible breeder, she said I was welcome to use the information on my own website to get the word out and to help educate people about the health issues in Golden Retrievers and how important it is to find a puppy from the right kind of breeder!