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Cocker Spaniels/Lots of different problems with 7 year old cocker spaniel


Let me start out with saying I believe my cocker is a springer/cocker cross from a puppy mill and with all of his problems, I believe he may also be inbred. I had purchased him from a pet store believing he was a purebred cocker puppy. He weighs 30 lbs right now and just turned 7 years old.

Now for the problems...

He's always had chronic allergies all seasons of the year ( we live in Wyoming, so it's very dry). He has ALWAYS had hives/rash on his body, especially his neck. I've taken him to the vet countless times, tried MANY medications (if I could remember them, I would list them, but I can't)...I've tried expensive shampoos...everything. He still has his itchy hives/rash and occasionally they turn into sores. I feel bad for him because I know he's miserable. I constantly keep his hair short. He goes in every 6 weeks to have it trimmed, but this last time however, we're getting to 6 weeks and his hair has hardly grown. I'm not sure what his problem is. He is bathed often as well to help with the itching. Also, if his hair is grown out, it's very dry and his skin becomes scaly and peels (which is why I keep it short). Not sure what this problem is either, but he's always had it. He also has a completely bald butt...this too has been since he was a puppy.

He is very prone to bladder infections. In the past year I think he's had 6 bladder infections that I've had to get him treated for. I always know he has one when he starts having accidents on the floor at night. Never during the day, just at night. I'm worried about this recurrence all of the time.

Ear infections. I know this is a common one with cocker spaniels, but even with all of the ear drops and lotions and keeping his hair short, his left ear is the primary problem. His ear always looks goopy. Sometimes it's both ears, but that's usually during the summer. His left ear remains the same year around. I'm worried about the consistency of ear infections as well..

Tumors. I know he has a fatty tumor on his belly. It's been checked out before and the vet said that it was nothing that needed to be worried about, unless it started getting bigger, which they didn't think it would. It's tripled in size now since last March. He goes in Tuesday to get everything checked out again. On top of this tumor growing in size, I have noticed another hairless lump on his left shoulder about the size of a nickel. It's not like a fatty tumor in any's scaly...and hard. It's been there for about a month and a half now so I've ruled bug bite out. I'm worried about that this could possibly be?

Teeth. Last year I took him in to have his teeth cleaned, which was great, but about a month later, they were worse than they were when I first took him in. His teeth are rotten...when he eats now, it's one kibble at a time and he has to tilt his head to one side to chew. I don't know what else to do about this. I've tried everything I could for him.

He's no longer as playful as he used to be even a couple months ago. He is obsessed with toys and has always loved to play with my husband. Now he would rather sleep all day on the couch with his toys, rather than play. If we squeak his ball and throw it, he'll get it, but bring it back to the couch and continue sleeping rather than playing. I'm worried about this behavior as well..

Most recently, as of last night, I woke up to him acting like he was going to throw up (that coughing sound they make) husband put him back on the bed after he got him to breathe normally again and went out to the living room to find that he not only peed on the carpet, but pooped as well. He was outside 45 minutes before we went to bed (there was nothing that he had gotten into or eaten during this time). This morning, we found he had also pooped and peed NUMEROUS (more than 6 times of least) in our back bedroom we're preparing for our daughter that will be born in March. I've been raised about multiple cats and dogs my whole life and this was the absolute worst pet accident I have EVER seen in my life. Again, there was nothing to set this off such as eating something he shouldn't have...there was nothing available for him to eat. I'm still shocked about how bad this accident was. All day today he's been asleep. He usually follows me around as my shadow, but won't get off the couch.

Like I said before, I'm going to the vet Tuesday to find out what would need to be done and how much all of this would cost. I have always done everything I could for him when he's needed it, no matter the cost, but with our daughter on the way, I am sadly limited to what I can do for him now. I can't continue to spend thousands...I've spent $3000 in vet bills on him just last year. Do I need to start bracing myself to hear hard news?

Rachel, right now he needs a urinalysis, bloodwork.  I'm not having a good feeling about his kidneys.

When you say your vet "checked out" this tumor/cyst - exactly how did he do that?  The correct thing to do would be to aspirate it (fine needle - no big deal for the dog) and have it analyzed.  Did he do that?  If he didn't, insist on it.  He can also aspirate some cells from the smaller, harder bump and have it analyzed.  He can tell absolutely nothing from "
looking at it" so get pushy about having it tested.

What I'd like you to do is forward this first email on to me personally at so we can discuss his skin issues.  I have questions but think what's primary at this point is to get him a full check up and see what's going on.

If you can grab a first morning urine sample to take with you, that'd be best.  If you don't know how to do this, I can tell you.  Pretty easy but everything must be sterile.

Cocker Spaniels

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Delores Beck


Health, nutrition, training. Please note: I used to highly recommend Innova products but, unfortunately, as with Canidae, they have sold out to Proctor & Gamble. This guarantees lower quality to a dangerous point so I will no longer be advising anyone to buy it.


20 years of owning this breed.

Psychology, MA

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