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English Springer Spaniel Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Breed Selection Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Last Updated: October, 2019

English Springer Spaniel

Start your English Springer Spaniel off on the right foot by feeding the right food, giving the right vaccinations, finding the right vet, and if you're going to spay or neuter, don't do it too early.


Jump down to this list of
English Springer Spaniel Health Problems


Or check out my advice for raising a healthy Springer Spaniel 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 English Springer Spaniel lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet... [read more]

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You can dramatically increase your dog's chances of living a long, healthy life by feeding the right food. Cutting right to the chase, the best foods for your Springer Spaniel are... [read more]

Real homemade dog food A Quick Way To Make Homemade Dog Food
Your English Springer Spaniel will love real chicken, turkey, beef, fish, eggs, yogurt, broccoli.... this is not just "people food" and I'll tell you why... [read more]

Dry kibble and canned dog food 5 Best Kibble and Canned Dog Foods
Some are better than others, but I must be honest – I'm not a huge fan of dry or canned dog food. Here are my concerns... [read more]

NomNomNow homemade dog food service Feed Homemade Dog Food Without Needing To Make It
Would you like to feed your dog homemade, but don't have the time to make it? I have a solution for you... [read more]

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

Information on spaying Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Should your female English Springer be spayed? Current research says, "The AGE at which you spay can be vitally important to your dog's future health." So what's the best age? [read more]

Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Have you been told that you must neuter your male Springer? Current research shows that the issue is not so simple. Pet owners are not being told about some risks associated with neutering male dogs, especially neutering too early... [read more]

Information on choosing the best vet Make Sure Your Vet is the Best!
Is your current veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Here's how to tell... [read more]

Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review
Does your Springer suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to reduce inflammation and pain. [read more]

English Springer Spaniel

Complete list of English Springer Spaniel health problems

Orthopedic diseases

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 13,000 English Springer Spaniels and the elbow X-rays of 3000 Springers – 13% of the hips were dysplastic, and 14% of the elbows. Those rates are too high for a medium sized dog.

Eye diseases

There are an awful lot of Springer Spaniels who are partially or completely blind.

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

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 (like sebaceous cysts) and tumorous growths (like sebaceous gland tumors and basal cell tumors).

Neurological diseases

Epilepsy is a real concern in English Springer Spaniels.

Sudden-onset aggression, known as Rage Syndrome, can occur in English Springer Spaniels. Most affected Springers are good-natured and well-behaved right up until the moment they flare out of control. It's not been conclusively proven that this behavior is neurological, but that is the leading theory, especially since some affected Springers have been shown to have abnormally low amounts of serotonin (a calming brain chemical). Whatever the cause, sedating drugs and behavioral modification seldom work and euthanasia is often the only thing you can do.

Be aware that English Springers who are poorly bred, poorly socialized, or poorly trained can display dominance or aggression without it being Rage Syndrome. In these cases, behavior modification )I recommend Respect Training) CAN 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.

Enzyme deficiencies

Enzymes are just teeny-tiny proteins in our bodies that help our metabolism to keep going, i.e. enzymes help keep us alive.

If an English Springer (or American Cocker) Spaniel is born without a specific enzyme called phosphofructokinase (pfk for short), he will not be able to make enough energy to maintain vigorous exercise. So when he runs too much or barks too much or even just pants too much, he may suffer a sudden episode of severe weakness and require IV fluids.

Other than these "breakdown" episodes, most affected spaniels 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.

Another enzyme deficiency disease in English Springers is called canine fucosidosis. Between about 2-4 years of age, an affected Springer will begin showing neurological symptoms that progress rapidly and lead to death.

Endocrine diseases

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.

Blood-clotting diseases

Four different blood-clotting diseases (von Willebrand's, factor X deficiency, factor XI deficiency, and hemophilia A) occur regularly in English Springers.

Other diseases 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.

Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if your dog inherits from his parents the genes for an eye disease called PRA, he will go blind and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Dog feeding and health book by Michele Welton But most health problems can be prevented by the ways you raise your dog.

My best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to raise your English Springer Spaniel in all the right ways that help prevent health problems. Become your dog's health care champion!

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.