State of Health for the English Cocker Spaniel

The English Cocker Spaniel is a comparatively healthy breed, with fewer problems than are found in most breeds of canine. That said, though, the EC does share the most common health problems with most dog breeds. Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) and Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration (PRCD), AKA Progressive Retinal Degeneration (PRA), can afflict English Cocker Spaniels.
CHD is a condition of relative malformation of the bones which make up the hip joint. It occurs in varying degrees of severity of affliction. In a dog of considerable size, it can be very debilitating and compromise the quality of the dogs life. In a breed the size of an English Cocker Spaniel, dogs diagnosed with mild CHD, and maintained at optimum body weights, can lead reasonably normal lives into the teen years without inconvenience. Evaluations of dogs for the presence or absence of CHD is done through review of radiographs (X-Ray film) taken by a veterinarian and submitted to either the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA, University of Missouri) or PennHip (University of Pennsylvania). Two dogs rated to be free of CHD and mated together have been known to produce afflicted offspring, however.
PRA in the English Cocker Spaniel is characterized by a gradual loss of sight beginning at about 7 to 10 years of age. In the initial stages, the owner may notice indecision or reluctance on the part of the dog when moving about in dim light. This is referred to as night-blindness. Progression towards complete loss of sight usually occurs in about 1 to 3 years from the first observation of symptoms or clinical diagnosis. Diagnosis can be performed by a veterinarian certified by the American College of Veterinary Opthalmology (ACVO). Annual eye exams are typically conducted on breeding quality animals. Dogs passing the exam may be registered (or annually renewed) with the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) supported at Purdue University.