Common Health Issues In Golden Retrievers

Do Golden Retrievers have skin problems? Can they get cancer? These are the most common health issues for Golden Retrievers.

Families and athletes alike love the playful, adventurous Golden Retriever. These dogs are strong, healthy, and happy if they are bred with care.

There are risks associated with any breed of dog, but there are higher health risks for Goldens than other dogs. These are some common health issues to look out for in your Golden Retriever.

Hip Dysplasia

Golden dog's coat is very long and soft
Golden dog’s coat is very long and soft

hip dysplasia is one of the most common problems in Golden Retrievers. The canine hip, like humans, is a ball in a socket joint. This means that the head of a femur (thigh bone) moves smoothly within the socket of the pelvis. These large bones are held together by strong ligaments. Uneven bone wear can be caused by deformations of the hip socket and femoral heads. This can also stress the ligaments.

Advanced cases can be characterized by severe joint inflammation, pain, stiffness and bone degeneration. Dogs suffering from symptomatic hip dysplasia may have difficulty performing basic tasks such as climbing stairs or getting on a chair. A vet may use imaging technology to determine the severity of the condition and prescribe treatment. Surgery can be performed in severe cases, especially among young animals. However, as the Canine Journal notes states, it can cost between $1700 to $4500.


Unfortunately, the Golden Retrievers have the highest cancer rate of all dog breeds. As a result of some type of malignancy, 56% of Golden Retrievers will die and 66% will die. Hemangiosarcoma, a rapidly-growing and aggressive form of cancer in dogs, and Goldens in particular, is a very common and deadly type of cancer. It is a form of cancer that develops in the blood vessels. This can be diagnosed microscopically early on. Lymphosarcoma and Osteosarcoma are other forms of cancer that can be found in Golden Retrievers. Vigilance is key to the successful management and prevention of these conditions. Early detection is key to better outcomes for all types of cancer.

Respiratory and Cardiovascular Conditions

As with other large breeds of dogs, Golden Retrievers can be at risk for conditions that affect the heart, lungs, and circulation. Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis (SAS), which is a narrowing in the vessel that carries oxygenated body blood from the heart, is one of the most serious and damaging. A narrowing or partial obstruction of the aorta can cause the heart to work harder than normal and can lead to death. Your vet should be consulted immediately if your pet is experiencing signs such as lethargy or weakness or difficulty breathing.

Skin Conditions

The golden retriever’s undercoat is usually thick and insulating, with a longer outer layer. This made it possible for harmful bacteria to thrive and grow. They can also be at risk of allergic skin reactions. The presence of mites and ticks as well as other parasites may exacerbate or create new skin reactions. Your Golden’s skin problem risk can be reduced by regular bathing, grooming, and parasite prevention. You should also be aware that your dog may be sensitive to molds, dust or any other environmental agents. Also, goldens can be susceptible to granulomas (granular benign tumors), sebaceous cysts and lipomas beneath the skin. These conditions can be diagnosed and managed by regular vet visits.

Other Conditions

There are many other health conditions that can affect Golden Retrievers, which have not been mentioned. These conditions include:

  • Cataracts are yellow or white film that clouds the eyes and impairs vision.
  • Hypothyroidism (lower thyroid activity)
  • Bloat is a gas of fluid buildup in your stomach that causes pressure on other organs.
  • Ear Infections