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Gun Dog Breeders: What Health Issues Do Breeders Watch For in an English Setter?

By    |   Tuesday, 01 Mar 2016 05:00 PM

English setters, like many breeds, come with a tendency toward specific health problems, and breeders are typically aware of these issues and can help owners prepare a game plan to deal with them over the setter's average 10- to 12-year lifespan.

Health issues common to English setters can include elbow dysplasia, deafness, hypothyroidism, and canine hip dysplasia, according to PetMD.

Owners and breeders may want to ask their veterinarians to give their English setters a number of tests to try to catch these ailments early. Some of the tests suggested by PetMD include thyroid, hearing, elbow, hip, and eye exams.

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If the owner is thinking about setting priorities for tests, the website October Setters suggested to start with the hip and elbow test since English setters are naturally athletic and love to run around. The dogs are bred to be hunting dogs, and the hip and elbow may show the first signs of trouble. The website also pointed out that setters aren’t unusually prone to health issues, and that many issues may be inherited.

"A hunting dog with hip or elbow problems is almost certainly going to have a shorter career in the field than it should, and likely a shortened life span," wrote October Setters. "More importantly, the dog will have to endure unfair suffering in its life."

Canine hip dysplasia is hereditary in English setters, according to the English Setter Association of America. The hip joint abnormality is difficult to spot and test for but can lead to arthritic problems for the breed later in life, noted ESAA. The association estimated that about 24 percent of English setters will fall victim to the disorder.

The October Setters website said buyers should ask breeders and dog sellers specifically about hip dysplasia if purchasing an English setter because many breeders still are not screening for it. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals offers certifications, which some breeders use, ascertaining hip health and also tracing an animal’s ancestry for such problems.

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English setters, according to October Setters, also have the highest breed incidence of autoimmune thyroiditis, which causes a dog's immune system to attack the thyroid gland. The good news, noted the website, is the disease antibodies can usually be detected in the blood starting sometime from two to six years old and can be caught early.

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English setters, like many breeds, come with a tendency toward specific health problems, and breeders are typically aware of these issues and can help owners prepare a game plan to deal with them over the setter's average 10- to 12-year lifespan.
gun dog, health issues, English setter
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2016-00-01
Tuesday, 01 Mar 2016 05:00 PM
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