The English Setter Association and the other English Setter breed clubs are aware that the continued health of the breed is of major importance to all owners of English Setters.
We are extremely fortunate that English Setters in general are a happy, healthy, long-lived breed. This is demonstrated by the fact that our breed is not required by the Kennel Club to undergo routine screening or DNA testing for congenital or inherited diseases with the exception of x- ray assessment for hip dysplasia, which is scored under the joint KC/BVA hip dysplasia scheme.
However, English Setters do appear to be more susceptible to some health issues than other breeds and to try to find answers to these problems and also to maintain an overview of the breed’s health the English Setter Association first formed a Health Subcommittee in 1990. More recently, in 2009, in accordance with KC requirements, it was agreed that a representative from each of the seven English Setter breed clubs should combine their efforts and the Joint English Setter Breed Clubs Health Committee was established.
The regular committee is made up of seven members: one from the English Setter Association, one from each of the five regional breed clubs, and one member representing the English Setter Club which promotes working aspects of this breed and runs field trials. In addition to these seven there is a chair – currently Mrs Linda Taylor who is also the designated permanent contact with the Kennel Club; the breed’s health co-ordinator.
The Joint English Setter Clubs Health Committee have made available a web-based Forum for discussion of all health matters or relevant topics for the wellbeing of English Setters and we welcome your contribution.
We are also fortunate to have access to two professionals should we need more expert assistance– a practicing veterinary surgeon and a professorial geneticist. Please feel free to contact any of the health committee if you need help or advice on any health issues. There is also a Health Forum below where concerns can be raised and discussed.
Hip Dysplasia: Hips/PDF
Hip dysplasia, or HD as it is most commonly called is one of the most common skeletal diseases in dogs and affects many dogs, pedigree and crossbreeds worldwide. The hip joints of affected dogs gradually degenerate, causing increased pain and loss of mobility. There is a genetic component to this disease but also rearing and subsequent management of the growing pup play a very important role. Diagnosis of this disease is by x raying the pelvis and hip joints – the good news is that the majority of dogs diagnosed with HD can lead full and active lives if the disease is diagnosed early enough and proper treatment is given and maintained although they are more susceptible to arthritis in later life.
Skin/ ear conditions – in particular atopic dermatitis Skin/PDF
Once the usual culprits for itchy skin ( flea, mites etc) have been eliminated, atopic dermatitis is most often the reason your dog is scratching . Atopic dogs have an inherited predisposition to allergic skin disease and means their immune systems are oversensitive and overreact to certain allergy causing substances – allergens – such as pollens or house dust mites. When exposed to the allergens, the immune cells involved in allergies release compounds such as histamine into the body which causes the dog to itch. This can be a difficult condition to control and usually once affected will last for life.
Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism/PDFHypothyroidism is a common hormonal condition and is the result of a reduction in the level of thyroid hormone circulating in the blood. It has a variety of symptoms including weight gain, hair loss and poor coat quality and a reluctance to exercise. Dogs of all ages can be affected, although hypothyroidism commonly affects middle-aged or older dogs. Hypothyroidism is easy to diagnose with a blood test and most dogs respond quickly to a daily dose of synthetic thyroid medication, which they will need for life. Many dogs suffer from a low thyroid hormone level for years without treatment. If your dog has chronic recurrent skin problems, or unexplained weight gain, they may be suffering from hypothyroidism.
Deafness in dogs can be acquired, such as an infection or age related, or congenital - a condition that a puppy is born with. Many cases of congenital deafness do have some degree of heritability and deaf adults should never be used for breeding. Lack of hearing can occur in one ear only – known as unilaterally deaf or both ears making the dog bilaterally deaf. It is easily tested for with the BAER test.An update to the 2001 deafness survey has been added in the 'Surveys and Updates' section. The PDF is listed - 'Deafness in English Setters' (2001 with 2015 update)
More recent issues : Infertility - to follow
Other English Setter minor day to day conditions:
“Dead tail” - shown on dropdown menu after Health called 'Health1'
Swollen occipital protuberance - shown on dropdown menu after Health called 'Health1'
Over the past 25 years our health committee has carried out a number of surveys and published, in our newsletters and as separate booklets, the results and also various health related articles. Many of these are now available to view on the “survey and update” link
Before being able to access the forum you must register. Once on the forum you need to create a new account. The register contains the following:-
Available here are Surveys and Updates undertaken on behalf of The English Setter Association/ Joint Setter Clubs Health Committee. Information of can be viewed or downloaded by clicking links, these will be shown in a PDF Format
We have produced a new standard reporting form to help the testing centres with the process of sending BAER test results for litters to the Kennel Club more efficiently. Therefore, we strongly encourage dog owners and breeders to bring this form to their testing centre. (To download standard reporting form click here)
To ensure we are able to record results:
To find out more about the BAER Testing Programme, please click here.Bonnie-Marie Abhayaratne