The cocker spaniel breed is a sturdy and medium-sized one. Their ideal weight is approximately 13 to 14.5 kilograms.
Being a medium sized dog it has certain physical characteristics. The working Cocker Spaniel is more commonly used in hunting and field sporting events and the show Cocker is more often seen in the ring. They are however known to be prone to hip problems like hip dysplasia and a certain leg problem known as “slipping stifles” or in medical terms patellar luxation.
This is a particular cocker spaniel leg problem that these dogs can occasionally suffer from.
The knee joint is protected by the kneecap or the patella and this kneecap is held together by a combination of ligaments and muscles. In cases of injury trauma, poor alignment, weak ligaments or intense muscle pull, this bone can slip out of its position.
In these types of cocker spaniel leg problems, the signs include limping, carrying the leg off the ground or hopping while running. If this problem reaches a stage when it becomes serious, surgery can also be required.
While injuries or external factors are a cause, at times, these cocker spaniel leg problems can also be congenital or present from birth. Therefore, it is necessary to take the cocker spaniel puppy or dog for regular checkups and take all information about the family genetic history of the dog from the breeders. Patellar luxation can affect either or both legs.
Some other indications that the cocker can also suffer from this problem include difficulty in straightening the knee and the pointing of the hocks outwards while the toes point inwards.
The veterinarian can diagnose the problem and prescribe the solution.
While in the initial stages, when this cocker spaniel leg problem is not that severe, the kneecap can be easily massaged back into place when the leg is extended but at later stages when this problem tends to be more severe, especially when arthritis creeps in and there is a likelihood of degenerative joint disease, most of the times surgery is the only option. Surgery, if done earlier on time, is better as arthritis is irreversible.
After this cocker spaniel knee problem is fixed through surgery, post-operative care is a must for the cocker spaniel dog as it will enhance the healing process. Tranquilizers, antibiotics and special collars are prescribed. Three to four weeks is usually the recovery period for the dogs and physical therapy through swimming and hydrotherapy is usually recommended.
It must be understood that as such cocker spaniel health problems can also be congenital, breeding the cocker spaniel having this problem is not recommended as it is most likely to pass this problem to its puppy. It will not be fair to do so as this problem, in spite of its treatment can be painful.
For preventing such problems, the owner must always keep the cocker spaniel dog healthy, keep a tab on its weight to prevent unnecessary pressure on the legs, feed the dog a well balanced and nutritious diet with prescribed supplements and always take extra precautions while playing and exercising to avoid injuries or exertion.