Cocker spaniel, American
The disorders listed in the first 3 categories below are believed to have an inherited basis, or are known to have a predilection for this breed ("breed predisposition"). This means the disorder occurs more commonly in this breed compared to other breeds, or to the general dog population. Common sense suggests that these are inherited disorders, but for many breeds and many disorders, the studies to determine the mode of inheritance or the frequency in the breed have not been carried out, or are inconclusive.
We have listed disorders for which there is a general consensus among those investigating in this field and among veterinary practitioners, that the condition is significant in this breed. Where the mode of inheritance is known, this information is included on the linked disease page. The most popular breeds tend to have the most disorders listed because there is a larger number of dogs affected, and therefore more opportunity to recognize a breed predisposition to a particular disorder. As well, there is likely to be more indiscriminate breeding of these breeds, leading to a higher occurrence of inherited disorders. In less common or newer breeds, there may be no disorders listed or the list of disorders may be quite short, because it can take some time before enough dogs are affected to recognize an inherited condition.
The last category lists conditions that have been reported sporadically, and may be inherited in this breed.
These disorders are relatively common in this breed, and where possible, efforts are being made to eradicate them. Ask your breeder about these conditions in his or her dogs. These disorders seriously affect the health of your pet and may require medical or surgical intervention.
Other disorders which have an increased incidence in this breed
These disorders occur less commonly or are less devastating than those mentioned above.
Atopy (allergic inhalant dermatitis)
Autoimmune hemolytic anemia
Ceroid lipofuscinosis (rare)
Coagulation disorder (factor X deficiency) (rare)
Patent ductus arteriosus
Persistent pupillary membranes
Phosphofructokinase (PFK) deficiency
Progressive retinal atrophy
Prolapsed gland of the third eyelid
Sick sinus syndrome
Vitamin A-responsive dermatosis
Disorders associated with conformation
These disorders are directly related to the conformation or standards for the breed. Although these conditions have in many cases become so common that they are accepted as normal for the breed, they can still cause serious physical problems and discomfort for the dog. One component of responsible breeding is to breed away from the extremes of conformation that cause these physical problems.
Entropion Note:The Vizsla Club of America has recognized entropion as an unacceptable problem in their breed, and advises breeders not to breed affected animals. Such leadership by breed clubs is important in discouraging this and other undesirable traits.
Exposure keratopathy syndrome
Other disorders which may be inherited in this breed
These disorders have been reported sporadically, and may be inherited in this breed.
Familial kidney disease (renal dysplasia)
Intervertebral disc disease
Portosystemic vascular shunt
von Willebrand's disease
For more information about this breed
Cocker spaniel - American Kennel Club
Tail Docking and Ear Cropping - information brochure
Copyright © 1998 Canine Inherited Disorders Database. All rights reserved.
Revised: November 18, 2003.
This database is funded jointly by the Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre at the Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association.