Cocker Spaniel Health Problems


Cocker Spaniels may suffer from diseases common to all dog breeds, but there are also conditions of genetic nature, i.e. hereditary health issues that mainly affect Cocker Spaniels. Your dog may be very fit and active, but there is no guarantee, that your Cocker will be so healthy in the future.

Every Spaniel owner should know about general heaths issues within this breed to detect possible early symptoms and get in-time vet aid.

Average Lifespan

Cocker Spaniels are considered to be healthy dogs. A Cocker Spaniel may live from 10 to 12 years, sometimes there are cases, when these dogs live up to 14 or 15 years. It mainly depends on the overall lifestyle of a dog, i.e. diet, activity level, housing conditions and well-timed health problems elimination. Also, the hereditary background plays a very significant role.

General Internal Health Problems

Warning! Below we will list out the most common diseases that may affect Cocker Spaniels. But it doesn’t mean that your Cocker will have all these illnesses throughout its lifetime! These are simply conditions to which it may be susceptible.
  • Hip Dysplasia – a very widespread condition among many dog breeds. This condition is a malformation of the hip joints.
  • Familial Nephropathy (FN) – a problem with kidneys. Namely, their filtering system are no longer able to work effectively.
  • Immune mediated thrombocytopenia(IMT) is an auto-immune health problem that is impossible to treat (only to eliminate symptoms). Can provoke internal and external bleedings and lead to anemia and even to severe lethargy.
  • Mammary tumors are quite common in female dogs (but those, found in males, are much more dangerous).
  • Pancreatitis – the pancreas of your Cocker is not able to work properly. There are hardly any enzymes to digest food and control sugar level in blood. Leads to diabetes.
  • Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) – severe back pain. May lead to paralysis in neglected cases.
  • Various heart problems.

Other Health Issues

Cocker Spaniels are highly prone to various skin problems, including Atopic Dermatitis (is caused by inhaling pollens), other allergic reactions (to food, medications, etc.)

Also, Cocker Spaniels are likely to have problems with the ears since they are pendant and poor-aerated (ear margin dermatosis, ear mites, yeast infections).

Be careful! If you notice that your Cocker scratches its ears, shaking its head; there are some unusual discharges or unpleasant smell in the ears – do not postpone your visit to a vet doctor.

But eye problems are number one among other health issues within the breed. Just the fact: almost 89% of all Cocker Spaniels have ever had some problems with eyes. The most common conditions are:

  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA);
  • Glaucoma;
  • Cataracts;
  • Cherry eye;
  • Distichiasis (extra eyelashes);
  • Dry eye (Keratoconjunctivitis sicca).
Recommendation: make sure you check the eyes of your Cocker Spaniel at least twice a week.

Cocker Spaniel is a breed rather prone to obesity (especially, the senior). Whilst being overweight may cause several heart problems, liver disease and even tumors. Also, extra weight affects the joints.

Advice: a diet for your Cocker should be well-balanced according to the level of activity, temperament, overall housing condition and age. A vet doctor can help you in this issue.

We advise you to always keep your dog’s health problems at bay to make it sound and healthy.

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Author of Silvia Brown
Written by Silvia Brown
Glad to see you, my friends! I started this blog several years ago as a hobby and continue to write articles about dogs.
I'm a dog lover and the proud owner of two wonderful dogs: French Bulldog Maya and Beagle Tom. It's been more than 10 years since I had a dogs and worked closely with them. I've raised four dogs throughout my life and have experience assisting in the births of two dogs. At least once a week, I volunteer with friends at a dog shelter AMA Animal Rescue and Animal Care Centers of NYC in NY.
Medically reviewed by Awilda Rodriguez, DVM on June 4th, 2017,

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