Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Sensible advice for raising your Gordon Setter 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 Gordon Setters, the best dog food diet for feeding Gordon Setter 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

Gordon Setter dog breed

Gordon Setter Health Problems and Raising a Gordon Setter Puppy to be Healthy

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2013

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 Gordon Setters:

The most common orthopedic diseases in the Gordon Setter are hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of 5200 Gordons and found 20% dysplastic. That's bad, and the true rate is higher because most of the obviously bad X-rays were not sent in for official evaluation. For comparison, Irish Setters have a 12% hip dysplasia rate. Similarly, 366 elbow X-rays of Gordon Setters were evaluated and 14% were dysplastic – the 16th worst rate of 82 breeds. For comparison, Irish Setters have a 3.5% elbow dysplasia rate.

As with all deep-chested breeds, Gordon Setters are at higher-than-normal risk for the emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat.

Skin problems include allergies (which cause itchy skin and can lead to pyoderma) and non-tumorous growths (sebaceous cysts). Ear infections are common in Gordons due to the long pendulous ears with lots of hair inside the ear canal.

Hypothyroidism is common in the breed. According to the Michigan State University Thyroid Database, up to 20% of Gordon Setters have low thyroid levels.

Inherited heart disease is being reported in the Gordon Setter.

Eye diseases in the breed include eyelid abnormalities (entropion and ectropion), dry eye, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and retinal dysplasia. At 2-3 years of age, cataracts can appear.

Follicular dysplasia and cerebellar ataxia are rare diseases that have been reported in Gordon Setters.


Can you prevent health problems from happening to YOUR Gordon Setter?

Yes, often you can.

  1. Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in Gordon Setters today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find a Gordon Setter 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 Gordon Setter puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.

Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Gordon Setter 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 Gordon Setter lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Gordon Setter
The best diet for feeding your Gordon Setter 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 Gordon Setter. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Gordon Setter
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your Gordon Setter. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Gordon Setter puppy really need? Does your adult Gordon Setter 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 Gordon Setter. 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 Gordon Setter. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female Gordon Setter.


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