Gamechaser Labradors

Health Testing

Health Testing


Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: 

All of our breeding dogs have had their hips and elbows scored under the Australian Hip and Elbow Grading Scheme. The breed average for hip scores for Labradors is 12-13. Our dogs scores are below the average.

Elbow scores go from 0, 1, 2, 3.

0 is ideal, but a score of 1 is still fine as long as the dog is mated to another dog with 0.0 elbow scores. This doesn't always mean that pups will have perfect elbows. I have seen dogs with scores of 2,3 who's parent's were both 0, and also dogs from parents that were 1,2 and ended up having 0 scores.

Probably the most commonly known health fault that can occur in Labrador Retrievers and other large and giant breeds is canine hip dysplasia (CHD). While not the most devastating and life threatening, it is the one of the most common and most widely publicised health problem affecting Labs and is thus of high concern to puppy buyers. While less widely known amongst the public, canine elbow dysplasia (CED) is just as common and in most cases much more debilitating as there is more weight on the front part of the body.

The term “dysplasia” is a catch-all phrase used to describe an improperly formed joint. There are many ways a joint can be malformed; socket is shallow and not sufficiently deep to hold the femoral head, femoral head is flattened or pointed instead of rounded and thus does not move freely in the joint causing excessive wear and tear, there is sublaxation (looseness) and the ball and socket, even if properly formed, are not tight again causing excessive wear and tear due to too much free movement of the bones forming the joint. Likewise with elbows, there are many different forms of joint malformations combined together under the term elbow dysplasia.


Dysplasia is considered to be a polygenic genetic disorder. Environmental factors such as excessive strenuous exercise, obesity and improper nutrition can also strongly influence the age of onset and severity of symptoms. But they cannot alone cause dysplasia. The only way a dog can develop dysplasia is if he has the genes for it. Unfortunately, even with multiple generations of great hip scores and stringent selection of breeding animals, the odd dog can still be born with those problematic genes.

Environmental Factors:

Environmental factors can have enormous effects on the age of onset, and severity, of any symptoms experienced by a dog who has the genetic predisposition toward dysplasia. Therefore, it is important for the owner of any large breed dog prone to dysplasia to understand these factors and work to minimize the impact the disorder can have on their dog's quality of life if he does have the genes for it.

The most common, and most potentially damaging, environmental factor is obesity. Puppies grow at rapid, but inconsistent rates. It is important to monitor food intake carefully and adjust it accordingly so that the puppy remains lean. Carrying extra weight on developing joints can lead to developmental problems within the joints. When puppies and dogs are overweight, it causes unnecessary stress on the joints. And as obese dogs are generally lacking muscle tone, this puts additional stress on the joints because the muscles are not strong and able to bear some of the load. Obesity and lack of physical fitness equates to excessive wear and tear on the skeletal system, which will over time lead to the development of arthritis. This will in turn magnify the severity of arthritis developing due to an improperly formed joint. Dogs should be kept fit, and thin enough that when the dog is standing the owner should be able to feel all of the ribs easily. If the ribs can’t be felt easily, the dog is overweight.


In addition to obesity, over-exercise at too young an age is a contributing factor to the onset and severity of dysplasia. Complete calcification of a Lab's bones does not occur until 12-18 months of age. It is important to avoid exercise that can strain the joints and any excessive, repetitive activity on hard surfaces until this process is complete.

We recommend that new owner’s avoid as much running, jumping and stair-climbing as possible with their puppies until they are at least a year old. This certainly isn’t to say the pup should be kept cooped up and not allowed to run around and play. Puppies will be puppies and are by nature energetic, and need exercise. A lack of exercise is every bit as detrimental to physical and mental development as too much. But owners should use common sense. Allow the pup to self limit his exercise, and when he’s tired don’t make him keep going. Pups are silly in that regard, and will keep chasing the ball as long as you keep throwing it, regardless of how exhausted they are. This means you as the owner need to pay attention to your dog, and stop the game when he’s getting tired and let him rest.  And if you want your Lab to be your next jogging partner, it is best for the health of his joints to wait until he is over a year old before you start having him accompany you on your morning runs. All of these things will help lessen the development of skeletal problems, particularly if your dog has a genetic predisposition toward them. (Thanks to Wildhaus Kennels).

Basically, 5 minutes of exercise per month of age. 

We have tested and screened our breeding dogs to the best of our abilities but dysplasia is unfortunately a common disease in Labradors and one that we cannot guarantee won't affect a puppy despite all tests being completed over 4-5 generations.

DNA Testing: 

PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy): Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is an inherited disease of the retina (the "film in the camera") in dogs, in which the eyes are genetically programmed to go blind. PRA occurs in both eyes simultaneously and is non-painful.The first clinical sign that the owner often notices is that the pupils are dilated; owners often notice a "glow" and increased "eye shine" from the eyes. By the time this is noticed, the dog is usually at least night blind (not able to see well in low light surroundings). Clinical signs in dogs with PRA vary from the dog first becoming night blind in the early stage of PRA, to the entire visual field in all light levels becoming affected in advanced PRA. In the final stage of PRA, the dog is completely blind. (Animal Eye Care).

EIC (Exercise Induced Collapse): The first thing noted is usually a rocking or forced gait. The rear limbs then become weak and unable to support weight. Many affected dogs will continue to run while dragging their back legs. Some of the dogs appear to be incoordinated, especially in the rear limbs, with a wide-based, long, loose stride rather than the short, stiff strides typically associated with muscle weakness. In some dogs the rear limb collapse progresses to forelimb weakness and occasionally to a total inability to move. Some dogs appear to have a loss of balance and may fall over, particularly as they recover from complete collapse. Most collapsed dogs are totally conscious and alert, still trying to run and retrieve but as many as 25% of affected dogs will appear stunned or disoriented during the episode. It is common for the symptoms to worsen for 3 to 5 minutes even after exercise has been terminated.(labradorclub).

Here are the genetic statistics of DNA testing:

Clear: This finding indicates that the gene is not present in your dog. Therefore, when used for breeding, a Clear dog will not pass on the disease gene.

Carrier:This finding indicates that one copy of the disease gene is present in your dog, but that it will not exhibit disease symptoms. Carriers will not have medical problems as a result. Dogs with Carrier status can be enjoyed without the fear of developing medical problems but will pass on the disease gene 50% of the time.

Carriers should never be excluded from the gene pool if they are exceptional with temperament, pass other health testing and are of the breed standard.

Affected:This finding indicates that two copies of the disease gene are present in the dog. Unfortunately, the dog will be medically affected by the disease. Appropriate treatment should be pursued by consulting a veterinarian. I would never breed from an affected dog.

CLEAR x CLEAR  =    100% CLEAR

CLEAR x CARRIER      =    50% CLEAR  50% CARRIER




No Gamechaser pup will be affected with PRA or EIC. 

We get genetic testing done through Orivet so that we know our dogs are as genetically healthy as possible.

COAT COLOUR: Labradors are either Yellow, Black or Chocolate/Liver.There is some speculation that a certain colour may make a dog more hyperactive, aggressive or untrainable. This is just fallacy. All breeds of dogs of all colours can make the best dogs with kind, consistent training. 




























































Contact Details

Mid North Coast/ Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Email : [email protected]