Golden Retriever muscular dystrophy is an inherited disease affecting Golden Retrievers. Affected dogs are unable to produce adequate amounts of a protein important for muscle contraction and relaxation. By 10 weeks of age affected puppies are noticeably smaller than littermates shortly after birth due to decreased growth associated with the inability to nurse. Affected dogs often need to be hand or bottle fed to prevent starvation. Beginning around 6 weeks of age, dogs begin to develop a progressively abnormal gait, muscle weakness, excessive drooling, muscle atrophy of the head and trunk, abnormal extension or flexion of joints and a “roach backed” appearance in the lumbar spine that eventually progresses to a concave flexion. Affected dogs may also suffer from aspiration pneumonia and cardiac disease. The prognosis is related to disease severity with some dogs dying soon after birth due to disease complications and others surviving for years with only mild symptoms.

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