Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Sensible advice for raising your English Springer Spaniel puppy so he lives a long healthy life and seldom needs to visit the vet. Learn about the most common health problems and issues in English Springer Spaniels, the best dog food diet for feeding English Springer Spaniel puppies and adult dogs, the truth about vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and natural health care.


11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, my best-selling dog health book

English Springer Spaniel dog breed

English Springer Spaniel Health Problems and Raising an English Springer Spaniel Puppy to be Healthy

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014

Quiz – How Long Will Your Dog Live?
How To Raise a Healthy Dog
Feeding the Best Dog Food
Feeding the 2nd Best Dog Food
Vaccinations: Needed or Not?
Are You Sure Your Vet Is Good?

The most common health problems in English Springer Spaniels:

Common orthopedic diseases in English Springers include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, luxating patella, and intervertebral disk disease. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of 11,300 English Springer Spaniels and the elbow X-rays of 781 Springers – 14% of the hips were dysplastic, and 13% of the elbows. Those rates are too high for a medium sized dog, and the true rates are even higher because most of the obviously bad X-rays were not sent in for official evaluation.

The eye disease that causes the most concern in English Springer Spaniels is retinal dysplasia. Other eye diseases include progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) (at 2-6 years old), cataracts (at 1-3 years old), eyelid abnormalities (entropion and ectropion), corneal dystrophy, and glaucoma.

Skin diseases are very common in the English Springer Spaniel, especially allergies (which cause itchy skin and often lead to pyoderma) and seborrhea. Also common are chronic ear infections, due to the long pendulous ears and long hairs inside the ear canals.

Skin growths occur regularly in Springers – both non-tumorous growths (sebaceous cysts) and tumorous growths (sebaceous gland tumors and basal cell tumors).

An unusual disease called PFK deficiency can occur in English Springer Spaniels, where a dog is born without an important red blood cell enzyme. Since red blood cells carry energy and oxygen to your dog's muscles, this missing enzyme means that during vigorous activity (running, barking, heavy panting), when he needs more red blood cells than usual, a dog with a PFK deficiency suffers sudden episodes of severe weakness. During these breakdown episodes, IV fluids are required. Other than this, most affected Springers can live a normal life as long as you keep them calm and avoid strenuous exercise, over-excitement, barking, and high temperatures. A simple DNA test is available for PFK deficiency, so you can find out at any time whether your dog has the disease, carries the disease, or is completely clear of it.

Epilepsy is a real concern in English Springer Spaniels.

A bizarre neurological/behavioral syndrome known as Rage Syndrome can occur in English Springers, where an affected dog suddenly becomes violently aggressive. In many Springer Spaniels, it appears to be related to extreme dominance, where the dog believes that he is in charge of the household and somebody in the family does something that "challenges" his leadership and causes him to explode. However, other affected Springers are good-natured and well-behaved right up until the moment they flare out of control. Some affected Springers have abnormally low amounts of serotonin (a calming brain chemical). Whatever the cause, drugs and behavioral modification seldom work and euthanasia is often the only thing you can do.

Note that Springer Spaniels who are poorly bred, poorly socialized, or poorly trained can display dominance or aggression without it being Rage Syndrome. In these cases, behavior modification CAN often bring the dog under control. Also note that epilepsy can cause behavioral abnormalities, and since epilepsy can be controlled with medication, it's important to consider epilepsy as a possible cause whenever an English Springer Spaniel displays sudden aggression.

Hormonal/endocrine system diseases include hypothyroidism, Addison's disease, and diabetes. According to the Michigan State University Thyroid Database, up to 14% of English Springer Spaniels have low thyroid levels.

Several blood-clotting diseases (von Willebrand's, factor X deficiency, factor XI deficiency, and hemophilia A) occur regularly in English Springer Spaniels.

Other health issues in the breed include lysosomal storage disease, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, myasthenia gravis, heart disease (patent ductus arteriosus and septal defect), and bloat.


Can you prevent health problems from happening to YOUR English Springer Spaniel?

Yes, often you can.

  1. Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in English Springer Spaniels today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find an English Springer Spaniel puppy who is genetically healthy.
  2. Other health problems are environmental – caused by the way you raise your dog. My best-selling dog health book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to prevent environmental health problems by raising your English Springer Spaniel puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.

Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy English Springer Spaniel puppy or adult dog:

Dog lifespan quiz How Long Will Your Dog Live? – Take This Quiz!
Based on your dog's breed and how you're raising him, this personalized quiz will help you understand how long your dog might live – and most importantly, how you can increase his life expectancy.


Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your English Springer Spaniel lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your English Springer Spaniel
The best diet for feeding your English Springer Spaniel is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, bison, venison, fish....This is not "people food" and I'll tell you why.


Natural dog foods for your English Springer Spaniel. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your English Springer Spaniel
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your English Springer Spaniel. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your English Springer Spaniel puppy really need? Does your adult Springer Spaniel need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed. Find out what many vets aren't telling you.


Information on choosing the best vet for your English Springer Spaniel. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.


Information on spaying your English Springer Spaniel. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female English Springer Spaniel.


Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.