Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

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

Irish Setter dog breed

Irish Setter Health Problems and Raising a Irish Setter 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 Irish Setters:

Orthopedic diseases in the Irish Setter include osteochondritis, hypertrophic osteodystrophy, wobbler's syndrome, elbow dysplasia, and hip dysplasia. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of 9830 Irish Setters and found 12% dysplastic.

The most serious eye disease in Irish Setters is progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which can appear as early as 8 weeks old and progress to blindness by 1-2 years old. Fortunately, a simple DNA test is available for PRA in Irish Setters, so you can find out at any time whether your dog has the disease, carries the disease, or is completely clear.

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.

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

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 diseases include 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 pendulous ears and long hairs inside the ear canals.

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. So this disease is a real threat to the breed. 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).


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

Yes, often you can.

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

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


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Irish Setter
The best diet for feeding your Irish 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 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 many vets aren't telling you.


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.


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


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