+++ You live(d) together with a heart sick Labrador Retriever? Please get in touch with us! +++

We have been asked multiple times from prospective dog owners as well as engaged breeders what kind of possibilities there are to decrease the probability of TVD to occur. That’s why we would like to summarize some tips in the following, which also apply on other (hereditary!) heart diseases.


Since the question of a possible genetic source of a heart disease is not clarified yet and therefore there is no gene test (yet?), there are the following ways (according to experts) to secure yourself as best as currently possible and to help containing heart diseases in Labrador Retriever.


  1. Get a heart ultrasound (preferably the official breed examination from the Collegium Cardiologicum e.V.) for the dam and stud before pairing. There should also be an open and honest communication of these findings with an entry in the database of the relevant association. For breeding only use dogs without pathological findings (current recommendation from the Collegium Cardiologicum e.V. concerning TVD: 'cardio - without findings' or 'Degree 0').
  2. Pairing only with a dam/stud without pathological findings (current recommendation from the Collegium Cardiologicum e.V. concerning TVD: 'cardio - without findings' or 'Degree 0', whether pairing dogs graded 'Degree 1' exclusively with dogs graded 'Degree 0' is acceptable needs to be checket with Controller breeding attempts).
  3. If a dam or stud gets diagnosed with some kind of heart disease it is important to communicate the findings openly and honestly and to register these findings in the database of the relevant association. The diseased dog has to be excluded from breeding (until there are no clear facts regarding the heredity; generally also due to the affected dog’s health).
  4. Close meshed observation of the breed: the puppies should get a heart ultrasound before selling them and/or at least encourage puppy buyer to get a heart ultrasound at age of one (similar to recommendation for HD/ED), findings of the offspring need to be communicated openly and honestly and to be registered in the database the relevant association.
  5. In case of an offspring diagnosed with so kind of heart disease the findings should be communicated openly and honestly and the entry in the database is needed. The owner of the diseased dog has to be encouraged not to breed with this dog (at least as long there are no clear facts regarding the heritage).


The risk regarding the (continuing) breeding of dam/stud ('cardio - without findings') as well as siblings ('cardio - without findings') of affected dogs depends on the type of the heart disease. At this point the breeder should consider for further breeding that the dam/stud may be a carrier of the disease or at least talk to a cardiologist before further breeding.


Furthermore the distribution of information concerning possible heart diseases in Labrador Retriever as well as the planned study on tricuspid valve dysplasia in particular (e.g. linking on your own webpage) could be useful.


If you do own a Labrador Retriever affected by TVD or DCM, it would be very helpful to send in a blood sample from the affected dog for the planned studies of the Institute for Animal Breedings and Genetics of the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover. Further information and contact info regarding these two research projects you can find here and here.