health tests for labradors ...

The hip is made up of a ball and socket joint, clearly anything that goes wrong with this close association of one bone with another, in this case the femur (thigh bone) and the pelvis (hip) leads to disability.

A badly made joint whether on an animal or a machine does not work properly and usually ends up suffering wear and tear. Machine joints eventually break up but animal joints try to keep going by repairing themselves.

The result of this repair is that arthritis (joint inflammation) sets in. Sadly the condition of hip dysplasia will never be eliminated. The genes which cause it have probably been within the animal’s gene bank for millions of years. So the best that we can do is to ‘control’ hip dysplasia and anyone considering breeding must hip score as control can be effective, because the disease is, in the main inherited.

The greater the number of low scores in the pups history the better the chance of him being free from hip dysplasia.
  The breed means score for a Labrador Retriever is total 15

Each hip is scored after 12 months of age, the score range is from 0-53, 0:0 is perfect and 53:53 is disastrous, the higher the score the worse the hip dysplasia. A dog with a high score can live a full and active life under veterinary guidance But it is extremely inadvisable to breed from dogs with high scores.
We do everything in our power to reduce the possibility of hip dysplasia in our breeding program. Although environment has been proven to be a principal cause and it is also believed that as much as 80% of HD is caused by the new owners and not as a result of breeding.
Lack of exercise is just as detrimental to hips as too much of the wrong exercise, you need to build up exercise gradually during your puppy’s first year of life, he needs to develop muscle. Puppies grow at a rapid rate within the first year and during this stage their bones are soft and easily damaged.
I do not restrict my puppies exercise, within reason of course, as I believe that they need muscle to hold the joint in place but I do not allow my puppies to run up and down stairs, leap on and off of furniture or jump In and out of cars. This care taken in the first year of life will benefit your dog for the rest of its life. Swimming is an ideal exercise for hips as it is non weight bearing but builds up the muscle supporting the hip joint. Hydrotherapy pools are becoming increasingly popular and I am sure that you will be able to find one in your area.


Labradors are also required to have their eyes tested anually and a 'clear eye certificate' should be held by breeders for every dog that they breed from.
Common hereditary defects affecting the eyes, which are tested for in Labradors include: hereditary cataract, Generalised Progressive Retinal Atrophy (GPRA) in simple terms 'night blindness'
Central Progressive Retinal Atrophy (CPRA) daytime blindness.

  There are no excuses for breeders to not hip score or eye test.
When purchasing a puppy you should ask to see the health certificates, shown below right is the green 'Certificate Of Scoring' for hips and left the white form 'certificate of Eye Examiation.