Every dog breed including cocker spaniels has its fair share of health problems, which include everything from relatively simple allergies to serious medical conditions like cancer. Speaking of allergies, cocker spaniel allergies are relatively simple health problems that can be treated with a healthy diet, good skin care and medications.
Probably the most common allergy in cocker spaniels is food allergies that can come from a wide variety of sources. The dog’s immune system responds to the food allergens through the release of histamines that, in turn, cause the symptoms to appear. Depending on the food source like beef, corn and milk, the signs may appear in as little as a few minutes or as long as in a few hours although when left untreated, both cases result in the symptoms manifesting themselves for days on end.
These symptoms include severe itching on the ears and feet so much so that these areas become red, swollen and irritated. The skin may also feel bumpy and warm to the touch. In other cases of cocker spaniel allergies, the gastrointestinal tract is also moderately to severely affected with symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea and the presence of mucus and blood on the feces and vomit.
Treatment of food allergies may take several weeks to accomplish since the identification of the food allergen through an elimination diet also takes the same amount of time. The elimination diet means introducing one source of starch and proteins into the diet and then gradually introducing other sources. When a food source has been identified as the source of the allergy, it will then be eliminated from the diet in the future.
Yet another common source of cocker spaniel allergies involves the various materials that the dog comes in contact with. Once the dog’s skin comes into contact with the allergen, symptoms like skin rashes, blisters and general itchiness develop. Unfortunately, prolonged exposure to the allergen leads to dry and flaky skin as well as secondary skin infections.
Just like in food allergies, it is important to identify the source of the allergy and then remove it. Owners may take a few days and even weeks before said allergens are identified. These can include wool from the beddings and items of clothing; plastic from the bowls and even the crate; synthetic materials coming from the carpets and pillows; metal particularly copper; and sand.
As with other cocker spaniel allergies, it is important to seek veterinary opinion to treat the symptoms until such time that the allergen is removed. The main aim is to avoid the development of secondary skin infections.
Cocker spaniels are prone to inhalant allergies, too. The allergens come from both natural and manmade sources including pollens, grasses, dust mites and mold on one hand and household chemicals and perfumes on the other hand.
The symptoms are similar to skin allergies – itchy, dry, scaly, swollen and red skin – with the addition of sneezing, coughing and wheezing. Depending on the dog, these symptoms may or may not be present all at once. The treatment includes the administration of antihistamines, immunization and steroids.
No matter the type of cocker spaniel allergies being experienced by your dog, the best thing to do is to seek veterinary opinion. The identification of the allergens comes a close second.