Cocker spaniels are adorable little dogs with friendly personalities. However, like most breeds, they have become genetically prone to a number of diseases and ailments, due at least in part to inbreeding over the years. If you have a cocker spaniel, make sure you're on the lookout for these common conditions so you can get your dog the appropriate treatment as soon as possible.
Cocker spaniels do not always have the best skin. In particular, they are prone to a condition known as seborrhea in which the skin becomes simultaneously flaky and greasy. This can make your dog uncomfortable and itchy, and it can also lead to that "doggy" odor that nobody enjoys. Seborrhea is not an overly serious medical condition, but it is one worth mentioning to your vet if you begin to notice its symptoms. Your vet may recommend a prescription shampoo to help reduce your dog's sebum production. If bacteria have begun feeding on the excess sebum, which is common, your vet may also prescribe an antibiotic to get this secondary infection under control.
Cherry eye occurs when the third eyelid begins remaining extended over part of the eye. You can see this third eyelid in the inner corner of the eye; it looks red and irritated when your dog develops cherry eye. If left untreated, cherry eye can lead to eye dryness and discomfort. The irritated third eyelid can also become infected.
If your vet diagnoses your dog with cherry eye, he or she may show you how to massage the eye to encourage the third eyelid to retract. Serious cases that don't respond well to massage may require surgical repair.
Liver disease becomes increasingly common in cocker spaniels as they age. Unfortunately, many owners overlook it because the symptoms can be mistaken for those of old age. Dogs with liver disease often experience a decreased appetite, confusion, lack of stability in the walk, and frequent urination. As the disease worsens, the eyes and gums begin to turn yellow.
Depending on the severity of the case, your vet may recommend treating your dog's liver disease with dietary changes, supplements, or surgery to remove cysts and tumors.
As with any dog breed, regular veterinary visits are important to ensure any diseases are caught early. Look for a veterinarian who has experience with cocker spaniels; finding one should not be hard as this is a pretty common breed in the U.S. Covington Veterinary Hospital PC would be an excellent place to start.