English Springer Spaniel Health Guide
If there is a good place to begin with the discussion of health for purebred dogs, including the English Springer Spaniel, it would be with choosing a breeder that you know will have healthy, well-socialized puppies.
This one factor can mean the difference between years of enjoying the company of your Springer and too many trips to the veterinarian to take care of problems that could have been avoided.
Health Problems in the English Springer Spaniel
The English Springer Spaniel is a very healthy breed and can be especially worry-free if given the right diet and a good amount of exercise. Most experienced owners give their Springer only the freshest, lean meats, fruits and vegetables and avoid sub-standard commercial foods altogether. This system would allow your pet to have few health problems while maintaining his beautiful coat and happy personality.
Some English Springer Spaniels have problems with hip dysplasia, a degenerative joint disease that can lead to pain, difficulty walking, and in the end may require surgery to correct. However, a reputable breeder should prepare for this condition by using parents that are certified as free from this disease, as well as having young dogs examined to make sure they are also without the hip dysplasia tendencies.
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If you find your pet developing this condition, pain and inflammation medications might be used to help unless serious at which time surgery may be the last resort.
Springer Spaniels tend to gain weight easily, especially if they do not get the proper diet and sufficient exercise. Remember, this breed is meant to be a working dog by nature, so plenty of outside time and room to run will be best.
Some owners have experienced what is commonly called “rage syndrome” with their English Springer Spaniel, a rare condition that is also found in some other popular breeds. Dogs with this syndrome could suddenly become aggressive, even attack people. Rage syndrome is considered a form of epilepsy and can bet treated.
When visiting breeders, ask about this condition and if they have had any experience with it in the bloodlines of their breeding parents. Now, if your pet shows what you might think is rage syndrome, do not be too quick to say that is what it is.
The reason is that English Springer Spaniels also go through what some owners and breeders call “teenage years”, a time when they are less gentle and friendly. During this phase, you would need to be patient. However, if the behavior continues or becomes severe, talk to your veterinarian about proper testing.
A healthy Springer may live to be 12 to 14 years old. You can help your pet reach this milestone with good diet and exercise. It is best if you pay particular attention to the ears of your Springer because some floppy-eared dogs have problems with ear infections. If you see something unusual, such as a heavy brown wax, fungus, or mites, contact your veterinarian. In these cases, prevention is very important.
Additionally, some English Springer Spaniels also have eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), a degeneration of the eye that can progress to blindness. The disease can appear as late as seven or eight years and the best way to avoid it is to buy your puppy from a reputable breeder.
Some other problems that you might want to watch for and ask about are skin allergies, hypothyroidism, and bloat. By using the right breeder and giving your pet the correct care, you should be able to enjoy many years with your English Springer Spaniel.
More About English Springer Spaniel
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