English Springer Spaniels Common Health Issues

Bred to be hunting dogs, English Springer Spaniels are energetic medium-sized dogs that need plenty of exercise. You’ll want to keep these loving dogs by your side forever, but health problems, if left unchecked, could put a hamper on your plans.

Although English Springer Spaniels are considered healthy dogs, several problems may arise, including elbow and hip dysplasia, eye and ear issues, and PFK disorder. Taking notice of your beloved pet’s symptoms and taking them to the vet could help extend their lifespans.

Many options are available to take care of your treasured English Springer Spaniel despite any health problems they may have. So, read on to find out more!

Health Issues Common In English Springer Spaniels

Given that they have a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years, the English Springer Spaniel is typically a healthy dog, but as can be expected, especially with any purebred dog, some health complications may arise. It’s best to be aware of possible problems to mitigate them.

One way of ensuring your beloved English Springer Spaniel is the picture of health is to get one from a reputable breeder who ensures prospective parents are vetted for health problems. Another way is to take your treasured pup to the vet regularly for checkups.

So here are a few ailments to watch out for that might affect your cherished English Springer Spaniel.

Canine Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia occurs when the dog’s hip ball does not fit properly into its socket or hasn’t developed properly. This leads to the bone wearing down and causes arthritis. Hip dysplasia is hereditary and can be treated through surgery. In older dogs, this entails the replacement of the whole hip.

However, surgery can sometimes be avoided by carefully controlling your English Springer Spaniel’s diet, exercise, and pain relief from a young age. Treatment can also include supplements of chondroitin and glucosamine to help with cartilage growth in the joints.

Hip dysplasia occurs during development and mostly affects larger dogs. This condition is not life-threatening if managed properly.

Elbow Dysplasia

Another common ailment in English Springer Spaniels is elbow dysplasia. Elbow dysplasia is diagnosed when there is malformation and degeneration of the elbow joint. It can lead to lameness.

Surgery might be an option for treatment, but this is not necessary in all cases. Weight management is important to ensure that there isn’t undue stress on the joints. Medication can also be prescribed to alleviate pain or slow the progress of arthritis.

Again, breeders should take care to breed only dogs who don’t have serious health problems like elbow dysplasia, and you should make sure you attain your dog from a reputable breeder. You should report any such illnesses to your breeder and neuter or spay your dog.

According to the Orthopedic Foundation of America, out of 13 000 X-rays of English Springer Spaniels, a disproportionate amount (compared to their size) of them were dysplastic – 13% in their hips and 14% in their elbows.

Phosphofructokinase Deficiency

Phosphofructokinase deficiency or PFK disorder is a genetic defect that influences how the body processes glucose. Typically, the disease is diagnosed in the first few months of life. Symptoms include muscle disease, anemia, lack of appetite, fever, dark-colored urine, and difficulty exercising.

A study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Veterinary Medicine School found that 2.7% of Springers were carriers of the disease. This blood disease is passed on from generation to generation, and although some dogs will exhibit symptoms, other dogs will merely be carriers.

Your Springer Spaniel will only show symptoms if both of its parents are carriers, making it unlikely that it will be an issue. Unfortunately, though, there is no treatment for the disease at present.

Ear Issues

Ear problems are common in English Springer Spaniels. Their long floppy ears are ridiculously cute but can be a menace to their health, so make sure you keep on the lookout for any pain experienced by your dear Springer Spaniel.

You can potentially prevent ear infections and even deafness if you check your dog’s ears weekly for weird smells, redness, and discharge and make sure to clean the ears. Take your fur baby to the vet whenever you suspect something is wrong with their ears. It can save them a lot of pain.

Eye Problems

Several eye issues can affect Springer Spaniels, including glaucoma, cataracts, retinal dysplasia, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA).

According to a study by the College of Veterinary Medicine of Ohio State University, Springer Spaniels are 24.6 times more likely to be at risk of PRA than other dog breeds.

To alleviate or prevent these diseases, it is vital to have your Springer Spaniel’s eyes checked yearly by a veterinary ophthalmologist and also to take your dog to the vet if there are any obvious problems like cloudiness or redness of the eyes.

The Illustrious History of English Springer Spaniels

Originally known as the Norfolk Spaniel after the Duke of Norfolk, the English Springer Spaniel was inextricably linked with the English Cocker Spaniel and the Field Spaniel. Spaniels were usually born into the same litter in the breed’s early history and were sorted by size.

Cocker Spaniels generally hunted the woodcock. Finding game birds in high grass or bramble and “springing” the bird from their concealment is the English Springer Spaniel’s task. Once the bird has been shot, the English Springer Spaniel fetches them.

The first pure English Springer Spaniel strain is attributable to an affluent family, the Bougheys of Shropshire, who, in 1812, started breeding with a spaniel called Mop I.

English and Welsh Springer Spaniels were not seen as separate dog breeds when they were shown at the first UK dog shows. In 1902, the English Kennel Club designated the English Springer Spaniel as a separate breed.

The breed was soon imported to North America and became so popular that famous people like George W Bush, Oprah Winfrey, and Grace Kelly are known to have owned dogs of the breed.


Getting your English Springer Spaniel from a reputable breeder in the first place will save you a lot of trouble. Before you purchase your new dog, you should screen your pup for the diseases common to Springer Spaniels. Hip, elbow, and ophthalmologist evaluations can be useful in screening common health problems of English Springer Spaniels. Additionally, DNA tests for PRA and PFK disorder could be useful.

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