As with all dogs, it is important that you maintain regular periodic healthcare.
Keep to a regular worming and up to date vaccination programme with your dog (according to
current protocols) - especially if intending to use Boarding Kennels, travel abroad etc - and as
advised by your Vet.
Keep teeth clean by regular brushing with a proprietary tooth brush and toothpaste, and ensure that
the dog can massage its gums and clean its own teeth by providing chews specially made for this
purpose (available from all pet shops/dog shows/veterinary surgeries etc).
Keep ears free from excess debris by maintaining regular checks and gently cleaning out with the
use of proprietary ear cleansers. Make sure that the hair underneath the earflap is kept short to
enable as much air as possible to circulate around the opening of the ear canal.
Keep to a routine for brushing & combing, so that you can make certain that the skin and coat are
kept in a good, healthy condition. As your dog will need some trimming, you should find out the best
place to go to keep your dog's coat free from knots and excess feathering (especially around the
feet, ears, and neck, underneath legs and rear end). The breeder of your dog should be happy to
advise or show you how to do this.
Keep to a fixed best suited to your dogs needs. (e.g. Complete, tinned, natural
feeding), making sure that at all times your dog has access to clean, fresh water.
Keep to a regular exercise/activity programme, attributable to the age of your ESS and for
maintenance of both correct body mass/weight and mental stimulation (working and/or play).
Keep an eye open for any signs of problems (e.g. excess urination or blood in stools or urine, loss
of appetite, excessive drinking, severe coughing, breathing difficulties, vomiting, diarrhoea, changes
in behaviour or temperament or any signs of lameness). If you are able to give accurate descriptions
of any problems, this will assist your Vet to give a more accurate diagnosis. For more information,
please see General Health Guide Checklist below.
Check for any excessive watering, discharge or pus in the conjunctiva (corner of the eye), or cornea (centre of the eye) to make sure there is no cloudiness. Annual eye examination by a Vet or Ophthalmologist would be helpful.
Check for discharge, odour from ear canal; examine ear flaps for wounds or swelling.
Examine for wounds, cracks, cysts between the toes and nail bed infection.
Check for any signs of dental decay, accumulation of tartar, inflammation and colour of gums. Be aware of the smell of your dog's breath as any changes (acidic) might indicate an underlying physical problem. Any long term neglect of teeth can sometimes prove to be the cause of other conditions which might have an adverse affect on your dog's health and well being.
Watch the weight of your dog by balancing the amount of food eaten to the amount of exercise taken.
Look for areas of thickened skin and/or baldness, particularly on elbows and hocks. Check for evidence of excessive scratching, cuts, bites. Test skin's mobility, worm segments under the anus, warts, hard or soft lumps. Check anatomical parts of both dog and bitch on a regular basis (penis, testicles, vulva and mammary glands) for any evidence of swelling, lumps or infection.
Note consistency, colour, changes in frequency. Look for undigested food, blood.
Watch for behavioural changes or evidence of abnormal behaviour - depression, anxiety, aggression or excessive timidity, severe loss of appetite, excessive thirst and excessive urination.
Castrated males (and spayed females) do not become automatically overweight if castrated or spayed. Hormones play a large part in the way that a dog's metabolism works. It is true to say that changes to the coat texture can take place, but careful coat care and trimming should help.
There is scientific evidence to say that the age of the uncastrated male dog can raise the risk of development of prostate cancer. (The younger the dog is when castrated, the less likelihood of development of prostate cancer).
Hormone levels in the female can have a great influence not only on your bitch's behaviour, but also the way her body works. Unspayed bitches can be prone to false or phantom pregnancies, when their bodies convince their brains that motherhood is impending. There is some evidence that the bitch can be more susceptible at such times to a predisposition to immune related conditions (anaemia, hypothyroidism, etc) and the chances of her developing mammary tumours is greater the older she continues to come into season (oestrus).
If you do decide to spay your bitch, it is preferable not to have this performed before her first season - the best time, if making this choice, would be between the ages of 1 and 2 years (after her first or second season)*. Choose a time within a 3 month period after the 12th day of her last season (oestrus), as this is the recommended clinical optimum (and safest) time for spaying to take place.
It is recommended to check the female parts of your bitch's anatomy on at least a weekly basis.
Check for signs of excessive licking or discharge, paying particular attention to the 3 month period following the bitch's last season, whether or not she has been mated. If in any doubt, and particularly should your bitch be showing any other abnormal changes both physically and/or emotionally, please take her to your Vet. Bitches can suffer from both open and closed Pyometra (uterine infection) and in the case of the latter danger signs can be overlooked, possibly putting your bitch's life at risk.
Check for changes in shape, swelling, soreness, lumps both in glands and teats.
There is a current research project being carried out by the Animal Health Trust into Mammary Tumours in the English Springer Spaniel. For more information, follow this link –
Please do not be taken in by the myth that spayed females become automatically overweight due to spaying. Hormones play a large part in the way that a dog's metabolism works. Consider changes to your bitch's food intake, which should always be in balance with her programme for taking exercise. It is true to say that changes to the coat texture can (and do) take place, but careful coat care and trimming, a good balanced nutritious diet (with or without supplements) should help.
There is scientific evidence that the age of the unspayed female can raise the risk of development of mammary tumours (the younger the bitch is when spayed, the less likelihood of development of mammary tumours).
If you would like to know more about the health and care of English Springer Spaniels, there are many and various publications available that are either Breed specific or non specific, which are informative and helpful. The ESS Breed Clubs’ Health Co-ordinators are available to provide and update information as and when it comes to hand, as well as to receive input from breeders and owners alike, covering all aspects relating to health.
In any event, the most important thing to do is to take pleasure from this most fun and life loving breed and enjoy many happy years of unconditional love and companionship.
English Springer Spaniel Health Co-ordinators
Mrs Lesley Field
Tel: 01923 823579
Mrs Louise Scott
Tel: 020 8427 3396
GENERAL HEALTH GUIDE - CHECKLIST
ALL DOGS (Male & Female)
(text in red denotes links to other pages or websites)