German Shepherd Dog

English Toy Spaniel Health Concerns


Some of the health issues which may be of concern for the English Toy Spaniel include:

Slipped Knees (Slipped Patellas or Stifles)

This is likely the biggest problem in the breed. For additional information, see Patellar Luxation (also known as Kneecap Luxation and Slipped Stifles) in the Health section of Canada’s Guide to Dogs.

Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA)

Patent Ductus Arteriosus is in every mammal at birth. It is a duct that blood flows through while the fetus is still using the mother’s oxygen supply. When the baby is born and starts to breathe, this duct is supposed to close within a few hours to a few days. PDA is the most common congential heart defect in dogs. PDA may be genetic, polygenetic, or classified as a random event.

Progressive Mitral Valve Disease (MVD)

This is another cardiac problem and is a defect in the mitral valve (the left atrioventricular valve) causes backflow of blood into the left atrium. Less commonly, a narrowing or stenosis of the valve can be identified. This in turn makes the heart less efficient at pumping blood to the body. Mitral valve insufficiency is the most common acquired cardiac disease in older dogs, affecting over one third of dogs greater than 10 years of age. In some breeds however, mitral insufficiency develops at a much younger age, due to an inherited predisposition for this disorder.

A relatively high incidence of early development of Mitral Valve Disease exists in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Cairn Terrier, Miniature Poodle, and Bull Terrrier (particularly in the United Kingdom). In general, small breeds are most often affected.

Additional Information: Canine Inherited Disorders Database

Eye Problems

Some hereditary eye problems exist for the English Toy Spaniel, such as Glaucoma, Cataracts, and Retinal Dysplasia. For additional information on these and other eye problems, see Eye Problems in the Health section of Canada’s Guide to Dogs.

Other Issues

Short Nose — Due to their short noses, Charlies do not do well in hot and humid weather, especially in heavily polluted areas. They may suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) if over exposed in these situations. It is best to provide them with air conditioning in these climates.

Collapsed Trachea — The Health Problem Every Owner of a Small Dog Should Understand.

Other Concerns that are not Health Problems

Fused Toes — This is a breed trait and not a cause for concern.

Open Fontanelles (a soft spot on the top of the skull, also called a molera) — In dogs under one year of age is common and generally not a cause for concern. These again are breed traits.

Umbilical Hernia — This is typical in English Toy Spaniels and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Unless open, it is strongly recommended not to risk surgical correction.


Note: This section of Canada’s Guide to Dogs is intended as a source of information only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional care. Always consult with your Veterinarian about health related matters. The information provided here is a brief outline of some of the health issues which may be of concern for the English Toy Spaniel breed and should not be considered as a complete listing.

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