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HEALTH

I think it is fair to say that the English Springer is a generally robust and healthy breed - but as with all living creatures health issues do occasionally occur.

There are certain problems that can crop up in the English Springer - either through inheritance or because of the way they are made.

The most common, and most easily avoidable with good husbandry is the tendency to ear problems. Regular cleaning and grooming will avoid the build up of wax, keep an air flow into the ear and avoid infection. Keeping the hair short inside the ear using a MILD ear cleaning product with a light dusting of Thornit Ear Powder on a regular basis should keep your springer free from ear problems for the whole of its life.

Of the inherited problems that can occasionally occur with ESS there are clinical and/or DNA tests available for eye problems and most reputable breeders will test their breeding stock prior to any litters being born. Ask your breeder if the mum and dad of any litter has been clinically eye tested for GPRA and Goniodysgenesis (pre-disposition to Glaucoma) - both parents should have a clear certificate - don't be afraid to ask to see certificates if you want to (there is currently no DNA test for either GPRA or Goniodygenesis - only clinical exams). There is, however, a DNA test for one particular strain of PRA - CORD 1. DNA testing is a fabulous tool, once you have worked out the mode of inheritance you can keep more dogs in the gene pool. You can mate a dog or bitch who's status is a "carrier" or even an "affected" to a "clear" partner in the certain knowledge that you will not produce any puppies that will go on to have the problem. Cord 1 is considered to be a very late onset disease, and to date (as far as we are aware) even dogs diagnosed by DNA to be affected with this disease have not gone blind even into very old age. See below for the mode of inheritance chart to help you understand how to work with DNA results. When looking for a puppy it is preferable that one parent should either be DNA tested clear, or be hereditarily clear. If only one parent is tested/hereditarily clear of this disease you can be assured that its progeny will never get the disease, so one clear parent to an affected or carrier parent WILL NOT PRODUCE THE DISEASE .

Some years ago a DNA test was made available for a problem in the breed called Fucosidosis, and by the method suggested above, the problem has been virtually iradicated whilst keeping dogs of fabulous type and temperament in the gene pool. When looking for a puppy at least one parent should either be DNA tested clear, or be hereditarily clear. If only one parent is tested/hereditarily clear of this disease you can be assured that its progeny will never get the disease, so one clear parent to an affected or carrier parent WILL NOT PRODUCE THE DISEASE .

It is generally perceived that hips are not a problem with the English Springer Spaniel. The recorded average for hip scores is currently around 15 in total. The advice is generally to only breed from dogs with that sort of score or below. Personally, as long as the score was even on both sides, it would not worry me overly to breed from a dog with a slightly higher score than that as long the respective partner's score was below the average. We do not routinely score our dogs as we do not believe it to be a significant problem in the breed.

Research into Chronic Hepatits is ongoing at Cambridge to ascertain whether it is an inherited or a viral problem It is a issue that has made an appearance in ESS along with other breeds, and as ever, reputable breeders are keen to see the research progress swiftly to give us tools to keep our dogs and the puppies we produce healthy.

For more information on heatlh in the ESS visit the website of the Southern English Springer Spaniel: www.sesss.org  The breed's Health Co-Ordinators' contact details can also be found on this website.

But remember, the English Springer is a generally healthy breed. When taking into account the health tests parents have had don't lose sight of the fact that a most important aspect is their temperament - to us it is the one of the most important considerations when breeding a litter and for that there is no test or "certificate" available!!!

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

web-Recessive mode of inheritance
web-Mode of Inheritance

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