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As far as dog breeds are concerned, the Cocker Spaniel is one of the most popular dog breeds and the American Kennel Club’s registration statistics verify this.
So, the Cocker Spaniel is a medium sized dog, and they are pretty active too. In fact, the Cocker Spaniel is the smallest spaniel breed and this is the smallest dog within this sporting group.
Cocker Spaniels are pretty recognisable by their fur coats which tend to be long, and their ears are also pretty distinctive as they are pretty low-set and also feathered.
Cocker Spaniels are a great addition to any family, and they make the perfect companion.
In answer to the question, the straightforward answer is that Cocker Spaniels can live from anywhere between 12 to 15 years, but there are a number of factors that can influence the lifespan of a Cocker Spaniel.
Some of these factors include health problems that can be pretty minor or pretty serious.
When it comes to looking after your Cocker Spaniel, it is key to keep a lookout for any signs of their health deteriorating just so that you can get your dog treated as soon as any slight problems arise.
What Are Cocker Spaniels Prone To?
There are some health concerns that Cocker Spaniels are pretty prone to, so in this section we will go into what exactly these health conditions are and from this we will outline the effects that these conditions can have on Cocker Spaniels.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy, also known as PRA, is a condition in dogs which can cause their retina to deteriorate over time. The worst case scenario of this is that it can lead to canine blindness.
Although this condition does not directly lead to a shorter lifespan, blindness will be a major struggle for your dog to overcome.
Blindness will mean that your dog might find itself in more dangerous situations which could ultimately lead to further complications.
Additionally, cataracts in dogs are pretty similar to PRA. Cataracts are similar to PRA in the same way that they result in a lack of visual awareness and capability.
However, cataracts are more of an opaqueness or fogginess of the lens of the dog’s eye, rather than a full deterioration. In fact, smaller bouts of cataracts might not even have any effect on your Cocker Spaniel.
However, it has to be said that thick or dense cataracts might result in impaired vision, complete deterioration of vision and therefore complete blindness, or even glaucoma.
Cocker Spaniels are also prone to patellar luxation, this is also known as a floating kneecap. This can happen when your Cocker Spaniel’s kneecap dislocates or moves out of its normal position.
This can be pretty painful for your dog, and in worst case scenarios this can actually result in lameness.
Patellar luxation can cause your dog extreme pain, especially because in some cases it can lead to a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament in at least a quarter of dogs with patellar luxation.
Elbow dysplasia, also known as ED in dogs, is a disease of the elbows. This disease is caused by growth problems within the joint.
There are some things which can cause elbow dysplasia, and they include defects in any kind of cartilage growth, or trauma, along with genetics, exercise and also diet.
Cocker Spaniels can also be prone to a stomach condition called gastric torsion, this is also known as canine bloat. This is a serious stomach condition which can be absolutely fatal if it is not treated straight away.
This is a condition where the stomach becomes pretty swollen, distended and very hard. This is usually due to abnormal volumes of gas, or abnormal volumes of food or abnormal volumes of fluid.
As the stomach swells, twisting can end up developing between the esophagus and also the upper intestine.
Cocker Spaniels are also prone to epilepsy, a condition which can have an effect on all dogs. Epilepsy in dogs is a neurological disorder which is marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance.
This can include but is not limited to a loss of consciousness, or convulsions, and these are associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
The seizures that happen as a result of epilepsy can have a detrimental effect on your dog’s health and wellbeing if they are not treated properly.
So, in addition to the conditions that we have listed so far, there are some other minor health problems that Cocker Spaniels can suffer from.
One of these minor health problems includes cardiomyopathy, which is an acquired or an inherited disease of the heart muscle. This disease makes it really difficult for the heart to pump blood to the other parts of the body.
If this condition is left untreated then it can be dangerous, and it can even be life threatening.
Another minor health condition that Cocker Spaniels are susceptible to is ectropion. This is a condition where the eyelid sags or turns outward, and this causes irritation to the inner eyelid. Usually, this condition will have an effect on the lower eyelid too.
Cocker Spaniels can also suffer from urinary stones, which although is a minor health condition, can cause major discomfort.
You might notice that your Cocker Spaniel is suffering from this condition if they cry out when they urinate, or alternatively if they struggle to urinate.
Vomiting, fatigue and bloody urine are also symptoms of urinary stones that you might be able to identify in your dog.
Another minor health condition that your Cocker Spaniel could suffer from is otitis externa, which is the inflammation of the ear canal of your dog.
This can be relatively common within most dogs, but it is a very aggravating and sometimes costly problem for dogs. The reason that otitis externa is so common in dogs is due to their ear anatomy.
The reason behind this is because dogs have particularly long and narrow ear canals, in fact in some breeds they are inches long.
Cocker Spaniels can also suffer from canine hip dysplasia, also known as CHD. This is a condition that begins in dogs as they grow and it can result in instability or a loose fit of the hip joint.
Symptoms that you should look out for in your dog that can help you to identify this condition are limping on one or both of its back legs, or a bunny hopping sort of motion.
Alternatively, you will notice that your Cocker Spaniel is suffering from stiffness.
Cocker Spaniels can be prone to hypothyroidism too, and this is where the dog’s thyroid gland works too little and produces too few of these hormones.
In fact, most cases of dog hypothyroidism happens when the thyroid gland suffers from any kind of damage.
This can of damage can stem from an atrophy of the tissues themselves, or the damage can come from an autoimmune disorder, or this damage can stem from a cancer.
Hypothyroidism can also trigger seizures in your dog, seizures are a symptom of thyroid imbalance within your dog.
Seizures might warrant the need for your dog to have a full thyroid panel, but this is something that you should consult your veterinarian about – or alternatively they will advise you that this is the best measure for your dog.
Cocker Spaniels can also be prone to seborrhea, this can be quite common amongst dogs. This is a skin condition that can cause dogs some serious irritation.
You might notice some signs that your dog has seborrhea because they will suffer from oily skin. This will be pretty distinctive when you examine your dog’s fur, especially on its belly, armpits, ears and elbows and ankles.
Or, your dog could suffer from really dry skin which is where your dog will have scaly or flaky skin.
Your dog will also spend an excessive amount of time scratching itself along the floor, because the itching will be really frustrating and pretty uncontrollable for your dog.
Seborrhea can also reside in hidden areas, such as flaps of skin which are not exposed to sunlight or cool air.
Another minor health condition that Cocker Spaniels can be susceptible to is phosphofructokinase deficiency. Yeah, it is a bit of a mouthful.
So, this is a rare muscle metabolic disorder that has an autosomal recessive inheritance pattern. This can affect dogs more so than any other mammals, as it is a recessive disorder.
The way that the deficiency works is that it disables the muscle to use glucose as an energy source. So, in turn the glucose intake will result in a lack of energy kind of defect.
Your dog will show signs of muscle aches and cramps, and these can be induced by exercise.
Cocker Spaniels can also suffer from ‘cherry eye’ which is a disfiguring, but not a painful condition. This is where the third eyelid containing a tear gland has prolapsed, and this causes a severe red bulge in the corner of your dog’s eye.
For most dogs, this ailment is just not very pretty to look at and it is not life-threatening. However, as a dog owner you might not like the appearance of it and you might decide that you want to get this corrected.
As a dog owner you are completely entitled to do this and this is a treatment that your veterinarian can help you with. This condition is relatively common in younger dogs, especially in puppies who have not even reached 1 year of age yet.
Cocker Spaniel is one of the breeds that this is the most common in.
Cocker Spaniels can also be prone to liver disease, which can be caused due to a number of different reasons.
Liver disease can be triggered by other illnesses such as diabetes or cancer, or it can be triggered through your dog suffering some kind of trauma to its liver.
Some symptoms that you may notice in your dog that would be signs of liver disease are not all that specific. There is no symptom specifically targeted towards liver disease, you might just notice that your dog is suffering from vomiting or diarrhea.
Your dog might have an increase in thirst which will in turn cause your dog to urinate a lot more frequently. Alternatively, your dog might suffer from a loss of appetite and then as a result of this you will notice a significant weight loss in your dog.
Your dog might even have some behavioral changes that indicate that your dog is in great discomfort, some of these changes in behavior can include your dog being particularly lethargic, or your dog might be particularly irritable, or your dog might even become quite depressed and isolated.
Like we said, there are no obvious signs for liver disease but if you are particularly worried about your dog then you should definitely take your dog to visit the veterinary clinic.
Cocker Spaniels can also suffer from the minor health condition of being allergic. Like humans, dogs can pick up different allergies, be it to the environment or be it something that they have eaten that has not agreed with their system.
Again, allergies take time to manifest and develop so your dog might not have a flare up for many years – or it might have a flare up pretty instantly.
Dogs like humans have different experiences with allergies and cope with them in different ways. Your veterinarian can advise you on some of the best ways to treat these allergic reactions, so that they do not bother your dog for the entirety of its lifespan.
On the whole, Cocker Spaniels can live a long and full life – and they should be around to accompany and annoy you and your family for quite some time.
As long as you take care of your Cocker Spaniel and that you keep an eye on them, and recognize if they start acting differently to their usual behavior then your dog should live a long and healthy life.