Most common health problems in Irish Setters, plus health care and feeding.


My Complete Health Care Program for your Irish Setter

If you want to AVOID health problems in your Irish Setter, you'll find my health care program very valuable.

It's called "11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy."

Raise your dog the RIGHT way, feed him the RIGHT food, give him the RIGHT vaccinations, avoid unnecessary veterinary expenses, and help him live a longer, happier, and more comfortable life.

If your Irish Setter already HAS a health problem, I'm sorry to hear that. You should immediately begin my health care program, and you may be able to restore his good health – or at least make him much more comfortable. Let me help!

My best-selling dog health book


Irish Setter dog breed

Irish Setter Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2017


Quick list of Irish Setter health problems

Irish Setters are susceptible to several orthopedic diseases (especially hip dysplasia) that can cause pain and lameness. The solid red Irish Setter has a much higher rate of hip dysplasia than his red & white cousin.

Hereditary eye diseases (especially cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy) can cause blindness.

Irish Setters are one of the Top 10 breeds most likely to develop an emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat, which can kill a dog within hours.

Epilepsy is a serious concern in the breed. So are (several) heart diseases. Quite a few Irish Setters are lost to cancer, especially bone cancer.

About 20% of Irish Setters have thyroid disease. Chronic allergies and seborrhea cause itchy skin. Ear infections are common due to the long narrow ear canals filled with hair.

Also autoimmune diseases, blood-clotting diseases...

(See more health problems below.)


Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if both parents of your Irish Setter have certificates proving they were tested and cleared of hereditary eye diseases, hip dysplasia, and thyroid disease, your Irish Setter has less risk of developing those conditions.

Other health problems can be prevented, or partially prevented, by the ways you raise your dog. If you're serious about doing everything you can for your Irish Setter, my best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to raise your Irish Setter puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways. It will help you be your dog's health care champion!


Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Irish Setter puppy or adult dog:

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


Pet insurance Should You Buy Pet Insurance? An Honest Review
My advice on the pros and cons of pet insurance, and the best pet insurance company I've found.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Irish Setter
Food is the #1 foundation for good health. The best diet for feeding your dog is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, fish....these are not just "people foods" and I'll tell you why.


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


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


Information on spaying your Irish Setter. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female dog.


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


Information on choosing the best vet for your Irish 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.


Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review: How I Helped Treat Inflammation and Pain
Does your dog suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis, a skin wound? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to help reduce inflammation and pain.


Complete list of Irish Setter health problems

Orthopedic diseases in the Irish Setter include osteochondritis, hypertrophic osteodystrophy, elbow dysplasia, and hip dysplasia.

But the two Irish Setter colors have different rates of these orthopedic problems. That isn't surprising, since they're considered separate breeds, so their gene pools are kept separate. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of 12,000 Irish Setters (solid red) and found 12% dysplastic. The Irish Red & White Setter had much better hips – of 300 X-rays, only 4% were dysplastic.

The same pattern is true of elbow dysplasia, with the solid red Irish Setter having a 2-3% rate (which is not bad), but the Red & White having zero.

Thyroid disease, though, is the same, with both breeds affected by thyroid problems at around a 20% rate.

The most serious eye disease in Irish Setters is progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which actually appears in two forms. One form appears in young puppies and progresses to blindness by 1-2 years old. A second form occurs in elderly Irish Setters.

But we're not done with eye diseases yet. Cataracts can appear at 6-18 months old. Other eye diseases in Irish Setters are entropion, cherry eye, eyelash abnormalities, and persistent pupillary membranes.

Bloat is a serious problem in the breed. The Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine reports that the Irish Setter is the SIXTH most likely breed to bloat, with about 1 in every 4 Irish Setters affected.

Epilepsy and heart disease are real concerns in Irish Setters. Heart disease includes cardiomyopathy, patent ductus arteriosus, and tricuspid valve dysplasia.

Quite a few Irish Setters are lost to cancer, especially osteosarcoma and melanoma.

Skin problems include chronic allergies (which cause itchy skin and often lead to pyoderma), lick granuloma, seborrhea, and occasionally sebaceous adenitis. Ear infections are common due to the long narrow ear canals filled with hair.

Canine leukocyte adhesion deficiency (CLAD) is a fatal immunodeficiency disease in Irish Setters. Affected puppies die early in life from multiple infections that their weak immune system can't handle. In Europe the carrier rate averages 21%. In the U.S., only about 600 Irish Setters have been tested so far, but of those dogs, about 7% are carriers. Fortunately, a simple DNA test is available for CLAD. Breeders should test all Irish Setters before breeding to determine whether their dog might be a carrier of the disease.

Blood-clotting diseases to be aware of are von Willebrand's and hemophilia A.

Other health issues reported in Irish Setters include laryngeal paralysis, megaesophagus, perianal fistula, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, and gluten-sensitive enteropathy (chronic diarrhea caused by gluten intolerance).


To help you train and care for your dog

book cover To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.

book cover My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.