Cocker Spaniel Health Problems
Cocker spaniels are one of the most popular family dogs in the nation. The breed has been well-loved for decades, proving it to be an excellent family pet and loyal companion. Unfortunately, cocker spaniels are not immune to serious health issues. Here are diseases and illnesses common to the cocker spaniel that every potential owner should be aware of:
Because of their heavy, pendulous ears, cocker spaniels are prone to severe ear infections. Be sure to keep an eye, and a nose, on your cocker’s ears. Ear infections have a distinct, yeasty smell to them, and the ears will become red and inflamed. To help curb ear infections in your cocker, ask your groomer to shave the hair around and under their ear flaps. Your groomer can also pluck inner ear hairs that hold moisture and debris inside of the ear. Clean your cocker’s ears once a week with a veterinarian approved ear cleaner, and get your cocker to the vet at the first sign of an infection.
Cocker spaniels are prone to a variety of eye problems, including glaucoma, conjunctivitis and distichiasis. Your veterinarian can check the health of your cocker’s eyes at the dog’s yearly wellness appointments and alert you to any possible issues. While clear discharge from a dog’s eye is normal, greenish or yellowish discharge may signal an infection; make an appointment with your veterinarian if you notice this type of discharge coming from your cocker’s eyes.
Your cocker may experience problems with its anal glands throughout its life. Anal gland issues are fairly common in dogs and are typically related to a poor diet. If your cocker’s anal glands become impacted on a routine basis, you may want to increase the fiber in its diet. This can be done by adding canned pumpkin to your cocker’s meal, or by sprinkling a fiber supplement over its food once a day. Fiber will help to bulk up your cocker’s stool, enabling the stool to express the anal glands as it is passed out of the body.
Cockers are prone to several hereditary auto-immune diseases that include hypothyroidism, haemolytic anemia and Addison’s Disease. The breeder that you choose to purchase your puppy from should have the sire and dam tested for these diseases prior to their mating. If you find a breeder who has not tested the parents of the litter they are selling, walk away and find a more responsible breeder.
Cockers are notorious for their skin problems. Seborrhea is the prominent condition that many cocker spaniels suffer from. While there may be a cause for seborrhea, many cockers suffer from the condition with no underlying cause. Seborrhea can be controlled with medicated shampoos, and the itching that the disease causes can be controlled by antihistamines or steroids. Cockers who suffer with seborrhea should be fed a high-quality, nutrient dense food and given a fatty acid supplement daily.
Cocker spaniels are great family pets but are not without their share of ailments. While even the most diligent breeder cannot fully guarantee the future health of your puppy, purchasing your pup from a responsible breeder is the first step in ensuring that your cocker is as healthy as possible.