Health & Injury to labrador pups

Potential injury before 14 months

Once the labrador puppy leaves our care we have no control over how it is reared. We are completely unaware of the contributing factors which may lead to injury or displaygia. Until the pup is 14 months old their joints are not properly set, therefore you must be careful not to over exercise and overfeed them.

Labrador puppies can easily injure themselves in the fast growing stages of their early life with their heavy bone structure unless looked after properly. Puppy buyers need to ensure optimal health, prevent potential environmental hazards and avoid situations which may be harmful to their puppy, such as slippery floors, staircases and jumping in and out of cars. Take care not to over-exercise your dog and maintain an appropriate diet. Avoid feeding young puppies household leftovers or varying their diet. Eukanuba Labrador or an equivalent puppy food is highly recommended.

Desexing your labrador pup

For the health of the labrador puppy, we recommend that a male is not desexed before 18 months so as to promote proper skeletal and vital organ growth. We recommend that you allow your female to have 1 'season / heat before desexing. Speak to an experienced vet regarding desexing and the subsequent 'animal health' issues. 


Labradors usually come into heat every six months and the heat, or fertile period, can last up to two weeks. After the dog has pups and they are weaned it should be 6 months before the next heat. If she came in season in April, was bred, had pups in June, she can be expected to come into heat again in October. This is of course using April 1st as a random date.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is an inherited disease of the retina in dogs, in which the eyes are genetically programmed to go blind. PRA occurs in both eyes simultaneously and is not painful. PRA occurs in most breeds of dogs and can occur in mixed breeds also. It is recessively inherited, and found primarily in male dogs. A clear parent bred to aanother clear parent will always result in clear offspring. The claim "Clear by Parentage" simply means that the parents of that particular dog or bitch were both tested clear of PRA. That individual offspring must also be genetically clear of PRA.

A genetic test for Labradors to test for progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) can determine if a Labradors is PRA clear (normal) as breeding stock. Dogs that are carriers can still be used in a breeding program as long as they are mated to a dog that is clear and subsequent progeny screened to ensure only clear dogs are bred from. Dogs who are affected must not be bred from. Our dogs are checked at 12 months for PRA and other eye problems.

Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC)

Exercise-induced collapse EIC is a genetic syndrome predominantly occurring in Labrador Retrievers. Affected dogs show signs of muscle weakness, in coordination and life-threatening collapse when participating in strenuous exercise or activity. Affected dogs can tolerate mild to moderate exercise, but just 5 to 20 minutes of strenuous activity, or even extreme excitement such as that seen in field trials or hunt tests, can induce weakness or collapse. Dogs affected with EIC usually cannot continue with intense retriever training but can live normal lives as house pets.

Dogs that have EIC are prone to mild to severe collapse that can range from dragging of the hind legs to complete collapse. Signs become apparent in young dogs as they enter heavy training - usually between 7 months and 2 years of age. Dogs of either sex can be affected. Dogs with this condition are always normal at rest and are usually described as being extremely fit, athletic specimens of their breed. Nervous system, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal examinations and routine blood analysis are usually normal during an episode of collapse. There is a DNA test available to identify the EIC mutation among the several breeds affected by this genetic syndrome.

All Pawling Labrador retrievers are EIC & PRA clear.