Cocker Spaniel Health Problems

Cocker Spaniel HealthWhen thinking of adopting from the breed, one must take into account the fact that the range of cocker spaniel health problems is wider than most other breeds. There are certain diseases that cocker spaniels are predisposed to while other illnesses come to the breed by virtue of human actions – or the lack of it.

This is not to say that cocker spaniels are undesirable pets that will give grief to their owners due to bad health, far from it. All dog breeds, after all, have their fair share of health problems. It’s just that individuals are well advised to go into pet ownership with open minds to the possibility of health issues with cocker spaniels.

Congenital Deafness

Both English and American cocker spaniels are prone to congenital deafness caused by the degeneration of the blood supply to either the inner ear or the cochlea. The process usually starts 3 to 4 weeks after the birth of the puppy, which will then be irreversible. Also, congenital deafness will affect one or both ears.

Fortunately, this one of the cocker spaniel health problems that is not as prevalent as the others. We must still caution pet owners, however, that congenital deafness can make for behavioral problems that can make the dog destructive and disruptive in and out of the house.

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Autoimmune Diseases

Pet owners must also know that cocker spaniels have high risks for developing two forms of autoimmune diseases. The good news is that both illnesses have successful treatments that will save the life of the dog once these are administered as soon as possible.

  • Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA) is the medical condition where the immune system attacks its own blood cells. The causes include systemic lupus erythematosus, bacterial infections and medications especially vaccines while symptoms include pale complexion, fatigue and jaundice. Treatments with steroids and, in severe cases, chemotherapy drugs have been proven effective.
  • Yet another of the autoimmune cocker spaniel health problems is autoimmune thyroiditis for which the breed has high prevalence of. In this case, the immune system attacks the T3, T4, and thyroglobulin substances that form the thyroid hormones. Treatment is similar to hypothyroidism except that thyroid antibodies are included.

Skin Problems

Primary keratinization disorder is the most commonly recognized skin disease in cocker spaniels. It is caused by the overproduction of skin cells so much so that the skin starts to become greasy, scaly and ugly that, when coupled with a foul smell, makes for a bad experience for both man and dog.

The treatment for one of the most common cocker spaniel health problems includes the concurrent administration of retinoids, antifungals, and antiseborrheic products until such time that the symptoms disappear.

Skin problems may also result from food allergies. Usually, the symptoms are itching in the ears and feet with red, swollen and hot skin in these areas. There are also gastrointestinal symptoms like the presence of fecal mucus and blood. The most effective treatment is often the elimination diet.

There are many other cocker spaniel health problems, of course, that will crop up during the dog’s lifetime. The most important thing is always to see veterinary opinion upon the first instance of symptoms instead of treating them yourself. Keep in mind that early medical treatment is still the best policy.


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