Goldendoodles are very commonly seen in many households.
While there are many things that you can do to keep your Goldendoodle healthy and happy, eventually, just like people, they will get sick.
These are seven of the most common health problems seen in Goldendoodles and what you can do to get your Goldendoodle back to a healthy life.
The Most Common Health Issues In Goldendoodles
These are the 10 most common reasons that your Goldendoodle may need to see your vet.
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Heart Disease
- Joint issues
- Hip Dysplasia
- ACL injury
- Dental Disease
- Eye issues
If your Goldendoodle is sick or does not seem like they are feeling better, it would be best that your Goldendoodle sees your vet right away.
There are some of the most common health issues and what you can do to help your Goldendoodle feel much better.
1. Gastrointestinal Issues
During your dog’s life, they will have digestive issues.
While most of the time, this is just short-lived, there are times that this is an early indication of another disease.
There are many signs that your dog can display that indicate they are having gastrointestinal issues.
Some of the common symptoms seen in dogs are:
While these signs can point to many different diseases, these are some of the most common reasons that a dog will have gastrointestinal issues:
- Pancreatitis – This is an inflammation of the pancreas, usually from eating a fatty meal
- Dietary indiscretion
- Organ failure
Your veterinarian can test for underlying disease and get your dog on the best treatment for their gastrointestinal issue.
Gastric Dilation and Volvulus is the medical name for bloat.
This is when your Goldendoodle’s stomach becomes distended with air and flips over.
This will cause your dog to look very bloated suddenly.
This is considered a medical emergency, and you should take your dog to a vet right away.
Commons signs of bloat in dogs are:
- Bloated abdomen
- Difficulty breathing
- Uncomfortable laying down
If you see any of these signs in your Goldendoodle or suspect that they have developed bloat, you should take your dog to see your vet right away.
If the bloating occurs after hours, you need to go to the emergency vet and not try to wait until the next day your vet is open.
Your vet can quickly examine your Goldendoodle and see if they have developed bloat.
Your vet may recommend taking an x-ray.
There is a very distinguished pattern that is seen on an x-ray if your dog does have bloat.
How to Treat Bloat
If your Goldendoodle does have bloat, your vet will recommend that your dog has emergency surgery.
Your vet will decompress your Goldendoodle’s stomach are release all the extra air and flip their stomach back into its normal location.
Your vet will also perform a gastropexy to tack the stomach into its normal place to help prevent your dog’s stomach from flipping over again.
Bloat is a life-threatening issue that even with immediate medical attention, your Goldendoodle can pass away from this condition.
After surgery, your Goldendoodle will still be in critical condition and need intensive care for a few days to fully recover.
These are a few things that you can do at home to help prevent your Goldendoodle from developing bloat.
- Elevated their bowls for feedings
- Allow them to rest for about 1 hours after eating before exercising
- Use a busy bowls to help slow down eating
These few things may help prevent your Goldendoodle from developing bloat.
Sometimes no matter what you do to try to prevent your Goldendoodle from developing bloat, they will still develop bloat.
3. Heart Disease
Older dogs can suffer from heart disease. As they age, their heart no longer beats effectively.
This can lead to many other problems.
There are many different types of heart disease, depending on what part of the heart is not working.
Typical signs associated with heart disease are:
- Trouble breathing
- Collapsing episodes
- Fluid in chest or abdomen
Your veterinarian can listen to your dog’s heart and lungs to see if they have a heart murmur.
This would indicate that there was something wrong with your dog’s heart.
If your dog does show signs of heart disease, many tests may have to be done, including chest x rays, an Echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart), and EKG.
These tests will help your veterinarian determine how progressed the disease is.
There are different medications that your dog can be started on to help the heart beat more effectively and decrease the amount of fluid in the chest and abdomen.
As your dog ages, they may have joint pain. During this time, they will also have weakening of the cartilage of the joints.
When the cartilage wears down, eventually, your dog’s bones are rubbing together, creating excessive bony formation.
The build-up of bone around the joint is the cause of their pain.
Signs of arthritis and joint pain in dogs are:
- Trouble walking
- Difficulty standing, especially after laying down for a long time
There are many different medications and supplements your veterinarian can prescribe for your dog to help ease their pain.
Sometimes there are even surgical options to fix the problem.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.
They can give you advice on how to give your dog a pain-free life.
5. Hip Dysplasia
A common issue that can be seen affecting your Goldendoodle’s joints is Hip Dysplasia. This is a common issue that comes from the Golden Retriever parent.
Hip Dysplasia is the looseness and instability of your Goldendoodle’s hip joint.
This is a genetic condition that is seen in large breed dogs like Golden Retrievers and can be passed on to your Goldendoodle offspring.
This is usually a progressive disease that is seen more frequently as your dog gets older.
What Causes Hip Dysplasia in Goldendoodles?
One of the most common causes of hip dysplasia seen in Goldendoodles is genetics.
Most Goldendoodles who have hip dysplasia, their parents and grandparents also had this issue.
Some causes of hip dysplasia are improper nutrition, being overweight, and too little or too much exercise.
How Does Your Vet Diagnose Hip Dysplasia In your Goldendoodle?
There are many ways that your vet may diagnose hip dysplasia in your Goldendoodles.
If your Goldendoodle is young and from a genetic line that is also known for having hip dysplasia it would be best to have their hips evaluated by your veterinarian when they are young as there are some preventive options that can be done in young Goldendoodle to decrease the severity of hip dysplasia.
Symptoms Of Hip Dysplasia in Goldendoodle
While Goldendoodle may show a variety of symptoms, most people will notice that their Goldendoodle is now limping more than they normally do.
They may also have issues standing after they are laying down for a long period of time or have a loss of muscle mass in their hips and back legs.
These are all signs and symptoms that would mean that you should have your dog examined by your vet to see if your Goldendoodle suffers from hip dysplasia.
How to diagnoses Hip Dysplasia in my Goldendoodle?
Your veterinarian will fully examine your Goldendoodle to diagnose hip dysplasia.
They may also want to take x rays of your Goldendoodle’s hips.
These x-rays will show how well the head of the femur (the long bone in the leg) fits into the hip socket.
Goldendoodles who have hip dysplasia, the femur head will barely fit into the hip socket and can be easily pushed out of place.
Your vet may need to sedate your Goldendoodle to be able to manipulate their hips to see if they do have hip dysplasia.
How to Prevent Hip Dysplasia in Goldendoodles
Young Goldendoodle puppies should have their hips evaluated at 2 to 3 months of age.
These x rays can be sent off to a boarded veterinary radiologist to be evaluated to see if your Goldendoodle is predisposed to developing hip dysplasia developing in the future.
If they are prone to developing hip dysplasia, then there are surgical options that your vet can do to decrease the severity of their hip dysplasia.
Treatment Options for Hip Dysplasia in Goldendoodle?
While there are many different ways that you can treat Hip Dysplasia in Goldendoodle.
These are some things that you can do at home to help your Goldendoodle stay healthy.
Give them plenty of Exercise
Exercise will greatly help strengthen your Goldendoodle muscles around the hip joints.
It is best to do low-impact workouts such as swimming in a pool or lake.
This will help strengthen their muscles and joints.
Change Their Diet
Most dog food companies have a diet that is formulated to help your dog’s joints.
Joint diets are very high in Omega 3’s, Glucosamine, and Chondroitin.
These ingredients are shown to help decrease joint pain and help your Goldendoodle with mobility.
Surgery options for Hip Dysplasia in Goldendoodles
There are 4 different surgical options that your vet can do to help with hip dysplasia in your Goldendoodle. In puppies, there are two procedures that can be done depending on the age of your Goldendoodle.
- A Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis (JPS) surgery done in puppies under 4 months of age. This surgery causes the pubic symphysis or the tissue between both sides of your dog’s pelvis to fuse together earlier. This fusion will change the sturcture of the pelvis and will increase the coverage of the head of the femur in the hip joint of your Goldendoodle.
- Double or Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (DPO/TPO) surgery is done in puppies at 8 to 10 months old. In this surgery your vet cuts the pelvis and rotates the pieces to help improve the structure of the hip joint.
- A Total Hip Replacement can be done in your Goldendoodle just like in people to fix the whole issues with their hips. This is the most expensive way f to fix hip dysplasia but it is the Gold Standard recommended treatment for hip dysplasia in Goldendoodles.
- Femoral Head and Neck Ostectomy (FHO) surgery can be done if a total hip replacement is not a feasible expense for your Goldendoodle. In an FHO the neck and head of the femur are surgically removed. The soft tissues surrounding this joint will form a fake joint allowing your dog to walk normal and pain-free.
How can you help your Goldendoodle with Pain from Hip Dysplasia
While surgery may not always be an option there are many ways to help your Goldendoodle with comfort from the pain associated with Hip Dysplasia.
Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are prescribed to decrease the pain and inflammation in your Goldendoodle’s joints.
6. ACL injury
Large breed dogs can tear their ACLs. The ACL is known as the Anterior Crucial Ligament and is found in your Goldendoodle’s knee.
This ligament holds the two bones in your dog’s leg in place and allows your dog to walk correctly.
If your Goldendoodle is running or playing very hard, they can easily tear this ligament.
Signs that your dog has torn their ACL are:
- Sudden non-weight bearing lameness
- Pain and inflammation around the knee
- Difficulty standing
If you notice any of these signs, it would be best for your dog to see your vet right away.
Your vet can examine your dog’s knee and take x-rays to see what is causing these symptoms.
Many times your dog will need to sedate them to be able to fully examine this knee.
If your Goldendoodle has torn their ACL, they will have a positive drawer sign in the knee.
This means that your vet can freely move the two-leg bones back and forth.
Your dog will most likely have to be sedated for this exam to be done.
What is the Treatment for ACL injuries in Goldendoodles
If your Goldendoodle does have a torn ACL, they will need surgery to correct this issue.
There are different orthopedic surgery options depending on the severity of the knee and if there are other issues going on with their knee.
The most common procedure to correct torn ACLs is a tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO).
This surgery will be done by a veterinary surgeon and not your regular veterinarian.
With surgery, your Goldendoodle can usually return to normal after a few months of rest and rehab.
There are some things that you can do to help prevent your Goldendoodle from having ACL issues.
Keeping your dog active and fit is the best thing you can do for your Goldendoodle.
If your Goldendoodle is overweight, this will cause them to have extra pressure on their joints, leading to many health issues.
7. Dental disease
Unless your dog has their teeth brushed twice a day, they will eventually have dental disease.
This is the build-up of tartar on your dog’s teeth, which causes their bad breath.
Small dogs are very prone to dental disease and will need routine dental cleanings.
Signs that your dog has dental problems are:
- Bad smelling breath
- Difficulty eating
- Swollen face right under the eye
You can also see if your dog has dental disease by looking at your dog’s teeth.
You will be able to see the tartar build-up on their teeth.
If your dog does have tartar on their teeth, the only way to remove it is to have your veterinarian clean their teeth.
This is very similar to the type of cleaning done at a human dental office.
Prevention of dental disease
After your veterinarian cleans your dog’s teeth, there are many things that you can do to help prevent dental disease.
- Dental chews
- Additives for their water
- Brushing their teeth daily
As your Goldendoodle ages, you may see many lumps and bumps appear.
These may just be small fatty masses, but they can also be cancerous.
Your vet will take a very small sample of the tumor with a needle and look at these cells under the microscope to help you determine if they are malignant masses or not.
Many signs would lead you to think that your Goldendoodle has cancer, including:
- Weight loss
- Actually, seeing a growth
If you notice any of these signs in your Goldendoodle, your veterinarian can run different tests to see if your Goldendoodle has cancer and help you decide on the best possible treatment route for your dog.
Golden Retrievers are a common breed of dog that gets cancer.
This can be a genetic issue that can be passed on to their offspring.
The most common cancers seen in Goldendoodles are:
Hemangiosarcoma is a type of cancer seen in your Goldendoodle’s blood vessels.
These blood vessels are located everywhere in your dog’s body including the skin and other major internal organs.
The most frequent sites where hemangiosarcoma can be found are the spleen, liver, and heart.
Hemangiosarcoma is one of the most common splenic tumors that is seen in dogs and is especially common in Goldendoodles.
This type of cancer is locally aggressive and highly metastatic, meaning it will quickly and easily spread to other organs.
What causes hemangiosarcoma in Goldendoodles?
The cause of hemangiosarcoma is unknown but it can be due to genetics.
This is often seen in Goldendoodles over 8 years of age.
Hemangiosarcoma can be seen in smaller and younger dogs, too but is more common in large older breed dogs.
Signs of Hemangiosarcoma in Goldendoodle
There are signs that your vet would be looking at to indicate that your Goldendoodle may have hemangiosarcoma.
The common signs that your Goldendoodle may have hemangiosarcoma are:
- Enlarged abdomen
- Pale white gums
- Unexplained weight loss
- Decrease exercise
- Decrease appetite
If you notice any of these signs in your Goldendoodle, it would be best to take your Goldendoodle to the vet right away.
Your vet will examine your Goldendoodle and see if they also think that your Golendoole has hemangiosarcoma or if your dog has another disease, causing them to show these signs and symptoms.
How is Hemangiosarcoma diagnosed?
There are different things that your vet may want to do to help them diagnose your Goldendoodle with hemangiosarcoma.
The only way to know for sure if your Goldendoodle has hemangiosarcoma is to take a biopsy of the mass and send it to a veterinary pathologist for review.
The pathologist takes a thin slice of the mass and will look for signs of cancer under the microscope.
There are blood tests and non-invasive procedures that would also lead your vet to think that your Goldendoodle may have hemangiosarcoma.
These are common tests that your vet may want to run:
- CBC and Blood Chemistry Panel: this will show if your Goldendoodle has a low red blood cell count. This would indicate that your Goldendoodle may have a mass inside that is bleeding.
- Radiographs: Your vet may want to take radiographs of your Goldendoodle’s abdomen or chest and see a mass on the liver or spleen.
- Abdominal Ultrasound: Your vet can ultrasound your Goldendoodle’s abdomen to see if there is a mass present on their liver or spleen. This will help them determine if the mass is bleeding into their abdomen.
- FNA and cytology. If your vet can see the mass with an ultrasound, they can stick a needle into the mass and take a few cells. Your vet will look at these cells under the microscope to see if they see cells are cancerous.
- Biopsy. The best way to tell if your Goldendoodle has hemangiosarcoma is for your vet to surgery to remove the mass and send it off to a veterinary pathologist. While this is the most invasive and possibly the most expensive way to tell what type of tumor your Goldendoodle has, it is the most accurate.
How to Treat Hemangiosarcoma in Goldendoodles
There are many different treatments for hemangiosarcoma. These are some of the most common treatment methods for hemangiosarcoma in Goldendoodles
A splenectomy is the best treatment for hemangiosarcoma in the spleen, which is the main organ affected by this type of cancer.
Depending on the organs that the mass involves these organs may be able to be partially removed.
Your Goldendoodle can live without parts of their liver, and if only a small part is effective, it can often be removed.
Chemotherapy is recommended after splenectomy to help prevent or treat any part of the tumor that has spread to other organs in your dog’s body.
With chemotherapy and surgery, you can increase the survival time of your Goldendoodle with hemangiosarcoma.
Most Goldendoodles will tolerate chemotherapy very well and will maintain a very good to excellent quality of life even during their chemotherapy treatment.
Doxorubicin is a chemotherapy drug that is most commonly used to treat Goldendoodle with hemangiosarcoma.
Your Goldendoodle will receive a chemotherapy injection every three weeks for 5 to 6 dosages total.
This is started a few weeks after your Goldendoodle has recovered from surgery.
This is an injectable medication that has to go in your Goldendoodle’s vein, so your dog will most likely need to stay the day at your vet clinic.
Chemotherapy is often done by a veterinary oncologist.
So, your vet may want to refer your Goldendoodle to a veterinary oncologist for their chemotherapy treatment.
A veterinary oncologist has specialized training beyond veterinary school to help them properly treat and manage different types of cancers.
There are other chemotherapy drugs that your vet can be used to treat your Goldendoodle with hemangiosarcoma.
Your vet will determine the best route of treatment.
Most Goldendoodles do not have the side effects with chemotherapy like we think of with people since the dosages are not as high. Discuss the different side effects and benefits of the chemotherapy with your vet.
Prognosis of hemangiosarcoma in Goldendoodle?
The prognosis for hemangiosarcoma with surgery only is poor.
The median survival time in Goldendoodles treated with only surgery is about 1 to 3 months, and less than 10% of dogs survive to one year.
Chemotherapy helps improve the survival time to about 6 months, using the doxorubicin-based protocol.
A low-grade tumor may have a better prognosis, especially if chemotherapy is given to your Goldendoodle after surgery.
Lymphoma is cancer found in your Goldendoodle’s lymphatic system.
This cancer causes the lymph nodes in your Goldendoodle’s neck, and legs to become enlarged.
There are even lymph nodes in your Goldendoodles chest and abdomen that can also be affected.
Goldendoodle’s who have lymphoma can undergo chemotherapy to help extend their life.
Your vets will recommend the CHOP protocol which is a different chemotherapy drug that your Goldendoodle receives each week to help kill the cancer cells and shrink the size of the lymph nodes.
This is cancer that affects your Goldendoodle’s bone.
The areas that it commonly affects are the wrist, shoulder, and knee. If your Goldendoodle does have osteosarcoma, you will notice swelling of the bone in that location, limping and pain in their joints.
Your vet can take an x-ray to see if your Goldendoodle has bone cancer or if there is another issue causing these signs.
If your Goldendoodle does have bone cancer, the gold standard treatment is amputation of the affected leg and chemotherapy.
With aggressive treatment, the prognosis is about 1 year.
With just amputation alone most Goldendoodles will survive for about 6 months.
With no treatment, most Goldendoodles only live for 2 to 3 months after their initial diagnosis.
9. Vision Loss
As dogs get older, they start to develop cataracts in their eyes.
Cataracts are the thickening of the lens of the eye.
This is the structure responsible for your dog’s vision.
Cataracts are seen as a whiteish blue haze in the eye that dogs develop as they get older.
Eventually, your dog’s cataracts will become so cloudy that they cannot see anymore.
Dogs can have cataract surgery, just like people can.
This would be a specialized procedure done by a veterinary ophthalmologist.
The cost of this procedure can be around $4,000+, depending on where the surgery is done.
Just like with people, your dog can also become obese.
Many dogs will not stop eating when they are full; they will stop when their bowl is empty.
If your pet has put on a few extra pounds, this can lead to many other medical issues such as:
- Joint pain and arthritis
- Heart issues
- Liver and kidney issues
- Difficulty breathing
If your dog is overweight, you can help them lose weight by increasing their exercise and decreasing the amount of food that you are feeding them.
There are low-fat diets that are specifically designed to help your dog lose weight.
Talk with your veterinarian about other ways that you can help your dog lose weight.
While your dog may currently be sick, there are many things that you can do to help them get better quicker.
As soon as you notice that something is not right with your dog, make an appointment to see your veterinarian.
They can help you get your dog back to feeling good.
The quicker you start your dog on medication, the quicker they can return to a healthy and happy life.