Q. I have a healthy 13yr .Amer Cocker Spaniel. What is usually causes death at her age and breed? Things I need 2 watch 4 such as disease as she ages?
JESSICA L DESROSIERS
A. Aging dogs of all breeds can have a variety of common problems such as arthritis (joint stiffness), heart and lung problems, and various lumps, bumps and tumors on the body. Watching any dog regardless of breed for signs of slowing down, stiffness, or strange growths on the body is key for finding problems and treating them early.
This article: http://www.petmd.com/dog/breeds/c_dg_am_cocker_spaniel is a great outline on the breed itself and includes a section on various diseases that are common to the breed. Eye, ear and skin issues seem to be the most common problem in Cocker Spaniels and daily grooming and care is usually the best way to watch for any signs of illness or change.
The best way to ensure your older dog's health is to start scheduling senior wellness check ups every 6 months with your vet. Older dogs often need a checkup more often than the usual yearly recommendation, and building a history with your veterinarian can quickly alert both you and your vet to any potential health issues.