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Unfortunately the cocker spaniel, like other breeds is prone to a range of hereditary diseases. A reputable breeder should undertake DNA testing for all known genetic health conditions in our breed to ensure that a known disease is not passed onto the next generation. All my dogs are DNA tested for the known hereditary problems in the breed so they won't inherit these diseases.

A breeder should never breed with a dog that is affected with any disease.
A breeder should never breed a "carrier" to a "carrier" as the puppies will be "affected" with the inherited disease. 
Breeding a "clear" to a "clear" will result in all the puppies in the litter being "clear" by parentage.
Breeding a "carrier" to a "clear" will generally result in 50% of the puppies in the litter being "clear" and 50% "carriers". A breeder that keeps any puppies from this type of mating for breeding will need to conduct DNA testing to determine whether they are a "carrier" or "clear".
There is no issue with buying a puppy who may be a "carrier" as this puppy will never inherit the disease.
Be sure to ask the breeder if they test for all these diseases and that at least one parent is clear.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Mode of Inheritance: Autosomal Recessive
A DNA Test is available
PRA is an inherited disease of the retina in dogs, in which the eyes are genetically programmed to go blind.
PRA occurs in both eyes simultaneously and is nonpainful. Clinical signs vary from first becoming "night blind" in the early stages, to the entire field in all light levels becoming affected. In the final stage the dog is completely blind. PRA will generally have an onset at 4-7 years of age.
Autosomal Herediatary Recessive Nephropathy (AHRN) or more commonly known as Familial Nephropathy (FN) 
Mode of Inheritance: Autosomal Recessive
A DNA Test is available
Familial nephropathy is an inherited disease that occurs in the Cocker spaniel breed in which young dogs suffer from the early onset of kidney failure. Affected dogs are born with an abnormal structure in the walls of their kidney tubules which prevents them from removing waste products from the blood and producing urine as they would normally. This is turn causes further kidney damage. The condition has a rapid onset and affects dogs usually between 6 months and 2 years and is ultimately fatal.
Adult Onset Neuropathy (AON)
Mode of Inheritance: Autosomal Recessive
A DNA Test is available
AON is an inherited neurological disorder in English Cocker spaniels, characterised by an uncoordinated gait and movement and weakness in the hind limbs, eventually leading to weakness in the front limbs. When all limbs are affected, there may also be difficulty in swallowing. Clinical signs usually begin between 7 and a half to 9 years of age. Neurological signs of this condition seem to progress gradually over 3 to 4 years.
Acral Mutilation Sydrome (AMS)
Mode of Inheritance: Autosomal Recessive
A DNA Test is available
Acral Mutilation Syndrome is an autosomal recessive genetic sensory neuropathy that results in progressive mutilation of the distal extremities. Clinicaly affected dogs present with overgrooming and licking of pads and paws to the point of excoriations, ulcerations  and bleeding. These dogs may be indentified soon after birth by their lack of reponse to acral pinprick or compression. Affected pups are oftehn smaller than unaffected littermates and owners report the pup licking and biting their paws. It is sometimes diagnosed in working Cockers. A DNA test is available.
Phosphofructokinase Deficiency (PKF)
Mode of Inheritance: Autosomal Recessive
A DNA Test is available

Phosphofructokinase Deficiency is an autosomal recessive genetic disease which prevents the meatabolism of glucose into available energy resulting in exercise intolerance amd muscle disease. It also destroys the red blood cells in affected dogs, leading to anemia.

Affected dogs will display pale gums, weakness, cramps and high fever when stresssed, during exercise, heat or prolonged barking. The most notable sign is often dark coloured urine due to the premature breakdown of blood products. This disease can be diagnosed early and with careful monitoring and management of stress and excitement levels, an affected dog can have a realtively normal lifespan.

Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC)

Mode of Inheritance: Autosomal Recessive
A DNA Test is available
Signs first become apparant in young dogs usually aged between 5 months and 3 years. In dogs engages in field work, this usually develops aat the age they enter more heavy training. Affected dogs exhibiting signs of collapse are usually described as being extremely fit, muscular, athletic dogs with an excitable temperament and lots of drive.
A few affected dogs have died during exercise or while resting immediately after an episode of EIC. A affecteted dog's exercise should always be stopped at the first sign of uncordiantion or wobbliness.
Hip Dysplasia
Hip Dysplasia is the abnormal development of the hip joint. Although this is more common in larger breeds, it can also be found in Cocker Spaniels. In more severe cases Hip Dysplasia causes lameness and pain.

Hip Dysplasia is thought to be polygenic - caused by factors including environment and diet as well as genetics, so a good hip score will NOT always guarantee offspring without hip problems.
Breeding dogs should be hip scored. It is very important to follow your breeder’s care sheets and adhere to instructions regarding environment, diet and exercise. Doing so may help avoid potential joint and bone problems.
Lip Fold Dermatitis or "Cocker Mouth"
Cocker spaniels can sometimes have an additional skin fold in their bottom jaw. This crevice accumulates saliva and remains moist and warm with little opportunity to dry out. This environment is conducive to bacterial growth resulting in a very unpleasant smell.
Ensure that the fur is closely trimmed around the mouth. Long fur around the mouth enables food to stick there and cause infection among the lip folds.
A natural remedy to fix this problem is to clean in and around the folds of the mouth with apple cider vinegar. Begin by cleaning twice a day and as the condition improves then reduce this to once a week until the smell disappears. Sometimes the condition may need antibiotics to clear it up.

Contact Details

Meg Hardy
Camberwell, VIC, Australia
Phone : 0413 506 424
Email : [email protected]