The Cocker Spaniel is generally a healthy, sturdy, purebred dog.|
However, like so many others, this breed does have some known health problems.
We have listed below, the generally accepted, conditions that can affect this
breed. Other problem such as overshot or undershot jaw, deafness, blue eyes,
various eye problems such as PPM, entropian etc also occur in the breed.
No breeder will guarantee your puppy. These conditions that afflict the
breed, in no way can be guaranteed against. Unless your chosen breeder has
hip x-rays and eye certifications for many generations of ALL dogs in the
pedigree, and knows the testing results of others from the same litter, they
could not begin to guarantee you anything but a happy, healthy puppy full of
promise and joy at eight weeks of age. Many things can and do go wrong, as
a puppy grows up, but many problems are unseen unless specifically tested for
(dogs with HD can run for miles, jump fences and lie like a frog - unless you
actually X-ray a dog, you cannot diagnose HD).
As a club, and part of the National Cocker Spaniel Council of Australia, we
encourage our members to undertake annual eye testing and also test for HD.
The National Council has compiled a list of positive results for both of the
aforementioned. Please note, however, that no 'positive' identification is
sought of a dog at the time of testing, and therefore many people do not test
PRA -PROGRESSIVE RETINAL ATROPHY
PRA is a descriptive term applied to retinal diseases that affect all
breeds of dogs. The same clinical signs are present in all PRA affected
animals. Affected animals will show night blindness and a progressive loss
of day vision.
Many PRA affected English Cockers can be diagnosed between three and five
years of age. It is during this age period subtle retinal changes can be
noted by the experienced ophthalmologist. Even though the same clinical
signs will be present in all PRA affected animals, the age of onset of
disease differs from breed to breed. The onset period is divided into three
approximate age groups: early, middle, and late. The English Cocker falls
into the late-onset group (4-7 years old). This late-onset form of the
disease is now called Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration (PRCD). PRCD is
HD - HIP DYSPLASIA
Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is the most common, heritable orthopedic problem
in dogs. It is usually characterized by hip joint instability (laxity) and
secondary degenerative joint disease (DJD). Normally, the ball-shaped head
of the femur fits snugly into the socket (acetabulum). When the hip doesn't
fit tightly, degenerative joint disease begins. The genetic basis for CHD is
thought to be polygenic and multifactorial
FN - FAMILIAL NEPHROPATHY
A recessively inherited renal disease that has been recognized in the
English Cocker for more than 50 years. FN is a form of "hereditary
nephritis" which refers to a group of glomerular diseases that are linked to
genetic collagen defects.
Onset of renal failure due to FN typically occurs between six and 24 months
of age. Clinical signs may include polydipsia (drinks more), polyuria
(urinates more), weight loss, lack of appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea.
These symptoms are commonly associated with any type of renal failure.
It is hoped the the outline of the above conditions, will make you more
informed about the breed's health issues.
All the conditions invoke great debate from dedicated breeders across the
Country. We suggest that when you select your puppy, you bear in mind,
that even if the parents have testing certifications, that it is NO
GUARANTEE that your puppy will not be afflicted.
Probably the best way to think about it is, that your puppy will be a joyous
member of your family for the next 10 to 15 years, and like children, they
may or may not turn out exactly how you envisioned, however, your love and
care, will ensure that they can live a long and happy life as most of the
conditions can be corrected or eased by your veterinarian.