Health Issues in English Setters
English Setters are not unusually prone to health problems, but there are a few inherited diseases that are common in the breed. The most prevalent serious diseases are Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Deafness, and Hypothyroidism.
Good health is especially important in hunting dogs. 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. More importantly, the dog will have to endure unfair suffering in it’s life. A deaf setter is obviously not an ideal hunting companion. It is important for breeders and buyers to be aware of these problems and do their best to lower the incidence in the breed.
Unfortunately taking even the basic step of obtaining an OFA hip certification has been far too slow to catch on among breeders of field English Setters despite the notoriety of Hip Dysplasia. This is not the case in some breeds, like Labrador Retrievers, where it is difficult for a breeder to sell pups unless the parents have OFA and CERF certifications.
Buyers have more power to reduce the incidence of inherited diseases than they might think. Becoming informed about the potential problems in the breed they are interested in is the first step. Armed with that knowledge buyers can then ask breeders what health clearances they do, how they are working to reduce these problems, and how often they produce each disease. If breeders become unable to sell puppies without doing the proper health clearances there will likely be a sharp increase in their interest in screening.
Within our health pages you will find basic information about the most common health problems in English Setters, where to find more in depth information, and what Buyers can do to help. By following these guidelines you can maximize your chances of getting a healthy pup and at the same time help reduce the overall incidence of health problems in English Setters.