About the Clumber Spaniel: Health Information
Because the Clumber Spaniel is an unique breed they do have some health concerns that are more prone to the breed. The droopy eye (showing of haw) is subject to inflammation or injury; the long back can be subject to disc problems in later years (the older Clumber). Because of the Clumber's short muzzle there may be an elongated soft palate. Any procedures done with anesthesia must be monitored carefully. However, because the Clumber can be such a stoic dog, many minor procedures can be done without anesthesia.
Here is a listing of some of these health issues unique to a Clumber Spaniel.
Panosteitis (Pano): The single most common problem encountered in a Clumber puppy is juvenile lameness. The Clumber Spaniel is a rapid growing breed and can often suffer from 'growing pains'. It is recommended that at approximately 5-7 months (after adult teeth come in) that your clumber puppy be taken off puppy food and fed adult food. This can help slow down the rapid growth. Pano is most often the cause of the 'wandering lameness' seen between 6 to 12 months of age. After, this time it disappears on its own.
Hip Dysplasia: Because of the physical conformation of the Clumber, many show a degree of hip Dysplasia on x-ray . However, very rarely is a Clumber Spaniel functionally impaired because of it. During the first 10-18 months the Clumber Spaniel develops tremendous muscle mass. Many believe because of this muscle mass the clumber is not affected from the hip Dysplasia viewed on x-ray. The serge of hormones during this heavy growth period are primarily responsible for muscle building. For this reason, many feel to recommend that any pet that has been placed with a spay/neuter contract not be surgerically altered until at least 10 months of age or longer.
Spinal (Disk) Problems: In later years Clumbers can be prone to back problems. It is wise to keep your Clumber 'fit & trim' using moderate exercise. It has not been established if Clumbers are prone to this problem because of a genetic basis or because of the nature of their conformation (long back & low to the ground). It is more likely that a back problem will NOT ever happen, but one should be aware that it can happen and to keep jumping to a minimum.
Eyes (Entropion & Ectropion) and other eye conditions: Entropion (turning in of the eyelid) Ectropion(turning out of the lower eyelid). It this problem does exist, it will be noted on examination of a trained vet. If the problem does exist , it is recommended that correction not take place until after 6 months of age or longer, unless it is damaging the cornea of the eye. After that time the head has grown enough to make a better assessment as to surgical correction if still needed. Many older Clumbers (6-8 years of age) can sometimes begin experiencing 'dry eye' which can quickly be remedied with medication. Other eye conditions that can appear and be seen by a trained opthalmologist are Retinal Folds....these are seen more so in puppies and many times relax or disappear as the puppy grow. Retinal Folds do not affect the eye or vision of the puppy or dog in anyway. Punctate Cataracts or 'pin cataracts' are self limiting and do not ever get bigger or affect the eye or vision. These are NOT the same cataracts that can affect vision. Cherry Eye, is a prolapse of one of the tear glands. Many times steroid ointment will remedy a cherry eye if caught quickly, other times surgery to re-tuck the tear duct is needed. Never allow a tear duct to be removed as this will cause permanent dry-eye condition. Distichiasis (Extra eyelashes) also can sometimes affect a Clumber Spaniel.
Hypo-Thyroid: Although it can happen in any breed, including mix-breeds, in Clumbers the condition is heard of less and less. Symptoms include pattern balding, loss of energy, fertility problems. A simple blood test can confirm hypo-thyroid.
The following are extremely rare health conditions
PDH or PDP1 : Pyruvate Dehydrongenase Deficiency ....A couple of cases of PDH have been confirmed in Clumber Spaniels. Up until late 2005 the disease was basically unknown. However, also in late 2005 a DNA marker was discovered to allow Clumbers a DNA test (commercially available late 2006) to know if a Clumber is Clear: (carries 0 markers for the disease), Carrier: (carries 1 marker for the disease), or Affected: (carries 2 markers for the disease). Several Clumber breeders got in on the 'ground floor' of the research testing in 2005 and were able to know if this disease was carried in their lines. To date, the disease only known symptom is Extreme Exercise Intolerance. Ask the breeder that you are thinking of purchasing your puppy from if they have tested and know the PDH status of the Sire and Dam. Only carrier to carrier can produce an 'affected' clumber (one that has the disease). Clear to carrier at the worst will only produce another carrier which will never have the disease.
Liver Problems: In the last several years the Clumber community has seen several cases of liver problems, mainly liver shuts, but also some liver failures that have been to my knowledge, limited to senior dogs. However, liver shuts usually when present, show up in very young dogs (1-2 years old) and sometimes also older puppies. Sometimes surgery can correct a liver shut, depending on it?s location. This is usually a life threatening condition.
Auto Immune Diseases: Auto immune diseases come in several forms: skin, digestive and blood. The auto immune disease that affects the blood is known as Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA) is a very serious life threatening problem. It can be treatable with the dog making full recovery. Time for treating this disorder is most important with sometimes only hours making the difference in the outcome. This can be a life threatening condition.
Heart: There have been a couple of isolated cases of DCM (Dilated Cardio Myopathy) in Clumbers. This is extremely rare. Ask your breeder if there are any know cases in the lines of the puppy you are inquiring about.