English Springer Spaniels are generally healthy dogs, but within the breed, there are some common health problems. The breed is prone to hip dysplasia, progressive retinal apathy, retinal dysplasia and phosphofructokinase deficiency. Owners should contact a veterinarian if symptoms present themselves.
Hip dysplasia is fairly common in large breeds. It occurs when two abnormalities occur in the hip. The bone and tissue are not properly held together and the hip is misshapen. It causes severe joint pain and arthritis in the hip. Dogs may become sluggish or virtually inactive. Symptoms include signs of stiffness and soreness upon rising from rest and hopping rather than walking normally. Hip dysplasia can be diagnosed with an X-ray. Treatments include pain medication and if needed, hip replacement surgery.
Progressive retinal apathy is a group of diseases characterized by deterioration of the retina, leading to vision loss. The diseases include progressive rod-cone degeneration, cone degeneration, photo-receptor dysplasia, rod dysplasia, rod-cone dysplasia, central progressive retinal atrophy and early retinal degeneration. Symptoms are signs of visual impairment such as walking into things, hesitant behavior and not recognizing your presence. Unfortunately, there is no treatment.
Retinal dysplasia in English Springer Spaniels is usually hereditary and can include retinal detachment. Look for similar symptoms as with progressive retinal apathy. Owners can ask breeders to screen dogs for the disease.
In addition to the mentioned conditions, English Springer Spaniels are also susceptible to a rare disorder called rage syndrome. The syndrome is a form of epilepsy causing a dog to viciously attack without reason or warning. It can be treated and is a medical condition, not a temperament issue. Before purchasing or adopting an English Springer Spaniel, potential owners should ask about a history of rage syndrome in the blood line. It can be hereditary. If your dog is acting unusually aggressive, consult a veterinarian. Some aggression is normal in young dogs. Donâ€™t assume its rage syndrome.
Serious conditions aside, English Springer Spaniels also tend to gain weight easily, so it is important not to overfeed. Adult male dogs should generally stay between 45 and 55 pounds. Females should stay between 40 and 50 pounds. Exercise is especially important. To stay fit, the dog should run and play outside everyday. A proper diet is also important. Steer clear of high fat foods and try not to feed the dog table food.
English Springer Spaniels, like all dogs, are susceptible to heartworms and fleas. It is important to use preventive medications to prevent these issues. Heartworms, if left untreated, can be fatal. Fleas aren't necessarily fatal, but they can make a beloved dog miserable and its owner, too! If you suspect your dog is acting strangely or feeling ill in anyway, consult a veterinarian.