English Springer Spaniels are a marvelous combination of sturdiness and composure. They are charming dogs that feel right at home at family events, picnics or even dinner parties.
Most people wouldn’t associate English Springer Spaniels and hip dysplasia because it just doesn’t seem to be a major problem with this breed. But statistics prove that these beautiful animals are indeed susceptible to hip dysplasia.
English Springer Spaniels
For hundreds of years English Springer Spaniels have been prized for their ability to switch from “hunting mode” to “family mode” after long days spent in the wilds hunting.
Springers love everybody they meet. They easily adapt to playing with children, and are also comfortable around other pets – cats and dogs included. They make wonderful playmates for children and are eager to fraternize with strangers. That does not mean they will lick the hand of every stranger that appears at your door. They have great protective instincts and will unquestionably sound the alarm if they sense a threat of any kind.
English Springer Spaniels are people-oriented dogs. They need lots of attention, companionship and positive feedback to feel relaxed and balanced. They can get bored if left alone for too long a period and they’ll dig up your garden, chew up your shoes, or bark incessantly.
They can easily adapt to living in an apartment or small condominium. However, they do need plenty of outdoor exercise, and love to hop into a pool or pond for a short swim.
They are reasonably easy to groom, but shed hair all year long. Their coats are medium-length and regular brushing keeps them looking good.
English Springer Spaniels tend to put on weight easily so it’s important that they’re not overfed. Springer Spaniels who are overweight are more prone to developing hip dysplasia. Be sure to take your dog on daily walks regardless of the weather.
Springer Spaniels date back to the 1600’s and have long been prized for their ability to help hunters by driving birds from bushes, trees and fields. They continue to be valued for their agility, hunting skills, obedience, and companionship.
English Springer Spaniels are medium-sized dogs with compact bodies and medium-length coats that grow feathery on their long ears, legs, chest and belly. Their heads are strong and their faces have a chiseled shape, giving them a stately, alert look. Their eyes are medium-sized, oval-shaped and slightly sunken, exuding a cheerful and loving expression. They have long necks that slope down to deep, developed chests. Their tails are usually docked, and their flat or wavy coats come in black and white, liver and white, blue roan or liver roan.
A healthy Springer can live as long as 14 years. Common health issues include epilepsy, eye problems, and hip dysplasia.
Hip dysplasia in English Springer Spaniels
Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease that primarily affects large and giant breeds of dogs but can also affect medium-sized breeds and occasionally small breeds. It is primarily a disease of purebreds, although it can also occur in mixed breeds.
To understand hip dysplasia and the resulting arthritis, you need a basic understanding of how the dog’s hip joint is affected.
The hip joint is comprised of a ball and socket that forms the attachment of the hind leg to the body. The ball portion is the head of the femur and the socket is located on the pelvis. In a normal hip joint the ball rotates freely within the socket.
The bones are shaped to perfectly match each other with the socket surrounding the ball. To strengthen the joint, the two bones are held together by a strong ligament. The joint capsule, a strong band of connective tissue, circles the two bones to provide added stability.
X-ray of a normal hip joint:
Hip dysplasia is linked to abnormal joint structure and a laxity of the muscles, connective tissue, and ligaments that would normally support the dog’s hip joints. As the disease progresses, the articular surfaces of the two bones lose contact with each other. This separation of the two bones within the joint causes a drastic change in the size and shape of the articular surfaces.
X-Ray of an abnormal hip joint:
Most dogs who eventually develop hip dysplasia are born with normal hips, but due to their genetic make-up the soft tissues surrounding the joint develop abnormally. This leads to the symptoms associated with hip dysplasia. The disease may affect both hips, or only the right or left hip.
The symptoms of hip dysplasia cause afflicted dogs to walk or run with an altered gait, similar to a bunny-hop. They begin to resist any movement that requires full extension or flexion of the rear legs. They will experience stiffness and pain in their rear legs after exercising and on first rising in the morning. Climbing stairs becomes difficult if not impossible. Some dogs will limp and are less willing to participate in normal daily activities, including walks they formerly enjoyed.
It appears that the amount of calories a dog consumes, especially during its fast-growth period from three to ten months, has the biggest impact on whether or not a dog genetically prone to hip dysplasia will develop the disease.
Obesity can increase the severity of hip dysplasia in English Springer Spaniels that are genetically susceptible to the disease and the extra weight will intensify the degeneration of it’s joints and hips. Dogs who are genetically prone to hip dysplasia and also are overweight, are at a much higher risk of developing hip dysplasia and eventually osteoarthritis.
Exercise can be another risk factor. Dogs genetically susceptible to hip dysplasia may have an increased incidence of the disease if they are over-exercised at a young age. Moderate exercise like running and swimming is best for exercising young dogs.
Because hip dysplasia is primarily an inherited condition, there are no products that can prevent its development.
Through proper diet, exercise, and a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, you can slow, and sometimes halt, the progression of these degenerative joint diseases while providing your dog with relief from its pain. Winston’s provides many of the raw materials essential for the synthesis of the joint-lubricating synovial fluid as well as the repair of articular cartilage and connective tissue.
If you’re looking to adopt a dog, the best way to lessen the possibility of getting an English Springer Spaniel that will develop hip dysplasia is to examine the incidence of the disease in the dog’s lineage. If at all possible, try to examine the parents and grandparents as far back as three or four generations.
There are different assumptions on how to prevent the progression of hip dysplasia. Poor nutrition, inadequate or improper exercise, and increased body weight may all contribute to the severity of osteoarthritis after the hip dysplasia has developed.
By watching the calories your puppy or young dog consumes and preventing obesity in your dog, allowing only non-stressful types of exercise, and a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, are the best things you can do for your dog.
Since 1990, Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula have helped heal over twenty thousand dogs from all over the world. Our staff specializes in hip dysplasia, arthritis and all joint, pain and mobility issues.
There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: www.dogshealth.com or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.