Cockapoo health problems
As a cross of a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle, the Cockapoo can also be prone to having a luxating patella. This is when a dog’s kneecap slips out of the groove it’s designed to stay in, causing damage, tears, inflammation and pain.
Sometimes, the kneecap will slot back into place after its dislocation, whereas in other cases, it will pop out and not want to go to its normal position. Most dogs will start to show signs of the conditions when they’re still pups, but symptoms can still manifest later on in their lives.
The signs of a luxating patella will vary depending on the severity of the condition but usually include limping, skipping, and an abnormal sitting posture.
This condition is mainly down to genetics but can be caused by trauma or an injury. To prevent luxating patella, it’s important to only buy from reputable breeders.
The Cockapoo can also suffer from another genetic health problem - hip dysplasia. It is a serious joint deformity causing hip problems that can develop to be very painful and debilitating as the dog grows older. It is often only able to be remedied with costly orthopaedic surgeries or managed with medications and therapies, such as physiotherapy and hydrotherapy.
Ideally, the breeder from whom you purchase your puppy should have written certifications from the BVA/Kennel Club Hip Dysplasia Scheme for the puppy’s parents’ good joint health. The respective joints should have been x-rayed and assessed before breeding.
Like many dogs with floppy ears, the Cockapoo is very susceptible to ear infections. Sometimes they can be related to allergies or other underlying diseases. You can help prevent them by cleaning your dog’s ears weekly with solutions that are specifically made to keep the skin barrier and the flora in the ear healthy.
If your dog does develop a red and/or itchy ear, possibly even with discharge, it is important that you have your dog checked by your vet.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
This is an inherited condition seen in Cockapoos which affects a dog’s ability to see. The retina is the part of the eye that allows us, and our pets, to see. It transmits images to the brain, providing us with vision, but in PRA these crucial parts start to deteriorate and are eventually completely worn away.
There is currently no effective treatment for the condition, and helping a dog navigate through life with vision loss is the best way to help them.
A cataract causes a dog to have blurry vision as it causes the lens to become cloudy. It is one of the most common reasons for vision loss in dogs, with Cockapoos being susceptible to the condition due to their genetics.
Inflammation can often accompany a cataract, making it a painful and sometimes disorienting experience for a dog, so knowing the signs can help your pet receive the care it needs sooner rather than later.
These signs include whiteness of the pupils, loss of vision and pain.
Glaucoma is another disease that the Cockapoo can be more prone to have due to their genetics. This is when pressure is placed on the eye due to a blockage which has a serious effect on the dog’s vision as it causes damage to the optic nerve and retina. Glaucoma is a serious condition which will lead to complete blindness if not treated.
The cornea is the transparent part of the eye which forms a cover over the pupil and iris. When damage occurs to the cornea, it is known as an eye ulcer. They can be caused by infection, trauma, burns or as a result of another medical condition.
Treatment will depend on the cause of the ulcer but can vary from anti-inflammatory pain relief to surgery.
Owners of a Cockapoo need to be aware that the Cockapoo is sensitive to allergens and tends to develop allergies that present with itchiness, skin irritations and dermatitis. It is recommended to keep an eye on your dog’s skin health at all times. Some allergies can be well managed with regular preventatives, a specific diet and/or medicated shampoos or foams.
It is worth addressing skin issues with your veterinarian early when they arise, so you can cover all bases and set the best conditions for your dog’s skin health.
Dental disease is a bacterial infection caused by the build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth. There are different stages of this disease but in severe cases, the bacteria can cause infections in your dog’s liver, heart and kidneys.
Fussiness with food, loss of interest in toys, bad breath, sore gums, dribbling and pawing at the face are all signs of mouth pain and could be caused by dental disease. If you notice any of these signs you should contact your vet.
Brushing your dog’s teeth daily and investing in some chew toys may reduce, delay and even prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar, keeping your pet’s mouth healthy.
Through the Cocker Spaniel side, the Cockapoo can also inherit a genetic metabolic disorder with the specific name Phosphofructokinase deficiency. A genetic mutation is responsible for the dog’s body not being able to produce the enzyme PFK.
It results in a deficiency of oxygen-carrying red blood cells and glucose and often leads to anaemia. DNA testing for this disease is available and it’s recommended to test the breeding dogs before having them breed.
One of the key responsibilities of pet ownership is checking for breed-specific health conditions, but even with the most scrupulous routine the unexpected can sometimes happen - visit our "Cockapoo insurance" page for additional information on insuring your Cockapoo with our dog insurance policies.