Alert Your Vet If Your Cocker Spaniel Shows Signs Of These Problems

Posted on: 7 January 2021

Every dog breed is different, not only in appearance but also in their genetics and predisposition to certain health problems. It is important to be aware of the problems that are common in your dog's particular breed so that if you notice signs of those problems, you can bring them to your vet's attention ASAP. So, what health problems should you watch out for in Cocker spaniels?

Cataracts or Glaucoma

It is common for Cocker spaniels to develop one or both of these eye conditions as they age. Cataracts make the lens of the eye look cloudy. Glaucoma causes the pressure within the eyes to increase. Both conditions lead to a progressive loss of vision. If you notice that your Cocker spaniel's eyes look strange, — or that they seem unable to see clearly — contact your vet. Both glaucoma and cataracts are pretty easy to diagnose, and while they are not curable, there are medications that can be given to slow their progression and keep your dog's eyesight as strong as possible for as long as possible.

Degenerative Disc Disease

It's really common for Cocker spaniels to suffer from degeneration in the intervertebral discs. This can come on at any age, but the symptoms tend to first appear when the dog is middle aged. Your dog may suddenly become unwilling to jump on furniture or go up and down the stairs. They may drag their back legs or seem stiff overall. A vet can diagnose degenerative disc disease with an x-ray or MRI. Treatments include anti-inflammatory medications, cold laser therapy, and physical therapy. Most dogs, however, require surgery to repair the damaged discs.


Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not secrete enough thyroid hormone. This leads to a wide array of symptoms, the most common of which include:

  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent skin infections
  • Hair loss
  • Irritated and itchy skin
  • Intolerance of cold
  • Increased appetite

A vet can diagnose hypothyroidism with a simple blood test. If your dog is diagnosed, you will need to give them daily thyroid hormone supplements. You should notice an improvement in symptoms within a few days, but the dog will need to be on the hormone supplements for the rest of their life to prevent symptoms from returning.

Cocker spaniels are at an increased risk for hypothyroidism, degenerative disc disease, and various eye-related ailments. Contact your vet as soon as you start to suspect something is wrong. The earlier you start treatment, the better — and that applies to all of these ailments. 

For more information, contact a local veterinarian today.