The Cocker Spaniel is a warm and loving pet that is full of personality. Cockers are predisposed to certain diseases, so careful observation of your pets daily routine is important. Any significant change in this routine is cause for an examination. Our web site in the Diseases Section has detailed information on many of these diseases.
This breed is prone to skin problems that can become chronic in nature and require constant attention. The usual symptoms are excessive scratching, flaky or bumpy skin, an odor to the hair coat, and hair loss. Some of the causes are mange, allergies, bacterial and fungal skin infections. Our allergy page in the Diseases section of our web site goes into more detail.
A variety of eye diseases are another group of problems to which Cockers are predisposed. These can include lashes which grow inappropriately, inward rolling lids, outward rolling lids, third eyelid problems, retinal problems, cataracts and glaucoma. If these problems are not addressed early there can be permanent changes to the eye. Any sign of squinting, redness to the eye, ocular discharges, pawing at the eye, or cloudiness, warrants an exam.
Cockers are particularly prone to ear trouble, which can be very painful without your realization, and can even require major surgery if left untreated. Any sign of head shaking, pawing at the ears, inflamed ears or odor requires veterinary attention. Daily checking for odors or discharge, and proper cleaning when needed, will help prevent this problem. Allergies to the environment along with food can be major predisposing factors.
Cockers are also prone to spinal cord problems. Any time your pet seems painful, reluctant to jump or move about it might have a slipped disk. You can learn more about this on our Intervertebral Disk Disease page.
Active Cockers are prone to knee problems. They can tear or rupture ligaments in the knee, which can manifest itself as a subtle lameness to complete limping. They are also prone to arthritis. Fortunately, we have many effective treatments that can dramatically improve your dog’s quality of life.
Heart disease occurs in Cockers. Any symptom of lethargy, coughing, poor appetite, or exercise intolerance could be a sign of a heart problem and should be investigated. In young dogs a disease of the heart called Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA) can occur. We check for this when we listen to your puppy’s heart with our stethoscope when it comes in for routine exams.
Problems with the red blood cells are not uncommon. This can cause anemia and bleeding disorders. Watch for lethargy, easy bruising, limping, or blood in urine or stool. Perform a weekly exam of your Cocker’s mucus membranes (gums) to make sure they are pink. Our Learning Center shows you how to do an in-home exam to check for this.
Skin tumors also occur, both benign and malignant. Rub your hands over the hair coat daily to feel for any lumps, bumps, or inflamed areas. Any problem here is a reason for an exam by one of our doctors.