Two breeds of dog, the English and the American Cocker Spaniel, are generally referred to under the name Cocker Spaniel. Both dogs were originally bred as hunting dogs. The Cocker Spaniel is susceptible to ear and eye problems, and, like many dogs, bone conditions. Its thick coat and long, soft ears predispose the Cocker Spaniel to irritations of the skin and ears. This friendly and hard working dog has a lifespan of approximately 12 to 15 years.
Primary Health Conditions of the Cocker Spaniel
Both breeds of the Cocker Spaniel commonly develop ear problems because the long, floppy ears do not allow for ventilation and are a warm, moist environment in which parasites, bacteria, and yeast can develop. Otitis externa, or swelling of the ear canal, is one of the more serious ear problems to which the Cocker Spaniel is prone. Ears should be kept dry and clean, with administration of antibacterial flushes when problems develop. The Cocker Spaniel is also predisposed to progressive retinal atrophy, a degeneration of the retina. No treatment is available and should be addressed by the breeding of healthy dogs.
Secondary Health Conditions of the Cocker Spaniel
The Cocker Spaniel may develop dry flaking skin, termed Seborrhea, which can give rise to an unpleasant odor. The condition is not curable but can be addressed topically with rinses or shampoos to help your dog stay comfortable.
Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia, a serious condition that often results in high mortality, is a disease in which the dog’s immune system begins to attack its own red blood cells. Signs of IMHA are weakness and yellowing of gums. Immune suppression and transfusions may be effective if the disease is diagnosed early.
The Cocker Spaniel is also subject to common joint problems like patellar luxation, slippage of the kneecap; and hip dysplasia, improper fitting of the hip and leg bones.
Cocker Spaniel Exercise and Walking Needs
The Cocker Spaniel is not a particularly high energy breed of dog, but because it was bred to work, it does well with one to two long walks a day. Cocker Spaniels that do not receive adequate exercise may become shy and aggressive, particularly among other dogs but sometimes around humans as well. Being a hunting dog, the Cocker Spaniel will usually enjoy games of fetch.
Cocker Spaniel Nutritional Needs
Because the Cocker Spaniel is prone to seborrhea and other skin irritations, the dog’s diet should include vitamin A as well as fatty acids such as Omega-6 and Omega-3. These fatty acids can mediate allergies that develop in response to fleas or other skin problems. Beyond this, the Cocker Spaniel should receive a high protein food in accordance with its activity level. Additionally, the Cocker Spaniel that regularly hunts will require larger meals than a house dog.
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Hip Dysplasia In Dogs And Cats
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