Health Issues.
with any dog breed Golden Retrievers are known to have some hereditary
health conditions, which are inherited from parents to offspring. These
problems include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, several eye diseases and a
heart condition, sub aortic stenosis.  Responsible
breeders will only breed with dogs with clear heart and eye certificates,
and with low hip & elbow scores.  (that $700 bargin puppy in the
trading post, HAS NOT been screened for any health conditions!)

At Camuka all breeding
stock are tested for these conditions. You will be supplied with copies of
all certificates if you purchase one of our puppies or use one of our stud

In most cases the mode of
inheritance and the specific genes involved in these diseases are yet to be
identified.  Most of these conditions have complex causes and are the result of
many different contributing factors.  The combination of genes which predispose
the dog to the disease must be inherited and then the dog is subjected to
environmental stresses which exacerbate the condition.  Most of these conditions
are polygenic – caused by the cumulative effects of a number of genes.

The contributing
environmental factors in hip and elbow dysplasia are the dog’s weight, the
amount and type of exercise, and the puppy’s growth rate.  These all
contribute in the expression of the disease.  Other diseases such as epilepsy
are suspected to have a genetic basis, but the mode of inheritance has not been

All Golden Retriever Breed
clubs recommends that no dog with a serious genetic defect should be bred from.

An initiative introduced by
the National Golden Retriever Council is for all Golden Retrievers born after 1
January 2002 to have their Hip Grading Certificates lodged with the state kennel
club prior to the registration a litter.

The major diseases that Camuka screen for are:

Hip Dysplasia


Elbow Dysplasia (OCD)


Hereditary Eye diseases  (hereditary
cataract, PRA, extra eye lashes, glaucoma)NOTE:
an eye examination done by a veterinary ophthalmologist is done annually


Heart disease. (sub
aortic Stenosis -SAS)


The Golden Retriever Club Of Victoria, has excellent information on Hereditary
found in the Golden Retriever.

The only proof a dog is
free or tested for these conditions is to view a current recognized
certificate, signed by a specialised veterinarian. Eye certificates must be
up dated annually.

It is not good enough
for someone to say “both parents are healthy, so no need to test” A dog may
look healthy and have a serious underlying condition.

Conscientious breeders
do ALL tests, and will only be to happy to show you the original
certificates and discuss them.

Other genetic conditions breeders may test for:
Ichthyosis (DNA
test available). Ichthyosis causes flaking skin, and has no cure. It
does not usually cause any problems except the constant shedding of skin
flakes. Now known to be quite wide spread in our breed, recently a DNA
test became available and at Camuka we are now testing for this.

PRA -1  (DNA
test available) Progressive Retinal Atrophy – causes
retinal degeneration and progresses over time to blindness.


A good article – Breakthroughs in Golden Retriever Health. 
 (an article
from the GRC of America on new DNA breakthroughs)
Ureter (DNA
test pending) puppies leak urine, more common in female puppies, also
known as a “wet puppy”. Some BYB will try and sell a puppy cheap with
this condition, its no bargin, surgery is very expensive and often
puppies have other genetic issues. Most breeders will euthanize a puppy
with this condition, and it should never be SOLD.
Epilepsy –
not regarded as a major problem in Australia but believed to have a
hereditary component. No dogs with epilepsy should ever be bred from.

Thyroid – canine
hypothyroidism  is
not uncommon in Golden Retrievers.
Hypothyroidism, or low concentrations of thyroid hormones, is the most
common endocrine disease of dogs, and breeders rate it as one of the
most important health conditions of purebred dogs. A
simple blood test can identify the disease. Some of our dogs have been
screened for this.

Cancer –
unfortunately far to common not just in Golden Retrievers but all dogs
(including cross breeds) Lots of money being spent on research. Currently
the biggest cause of death in our lovely breed.


Health matters:

JPS surgery – a fairly new “preventative
surgery” being offered to new puppy owners, as a possible way to reduce
hip dysplasia. It will be offered as early as 4 months. We have yet to
see any evidence that this is effective, and are concerned it is being
offered to puppies that may never have any problem. The surgery is
expensive up to $2000! If your vet suggests this surgery, PLEASE discuss
with me first.