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5 Common Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Health Problems

May 20, 2021 by The Spot Pack
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in Nature

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a graceful, gentle dog with fantastic athleticism. Named for the 17th Century British monarchs, King Charles I and his son Charles II, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was a favorite among aristocrats. Despite their royal background, these dogs are more than happy to chase a squirrel or play with children.

Unfortunately, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is prone to a variety of health issues. Today, we’re going to break down some of the most common Cavalier King Charles Spaniel health problems so that you can provide the best care for your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel!

5 Cavalier King Charles Health Problems

Mitral Valve Disease

Considered the number one health concern that Cavalier King Charles Spaniels face, mitral valve disease is a health condition that begins as a heart murmur that progresses into heart failure. Many Cavalier King Charles Spaniels will develop mitral valve disease before their fifth birthday.

Your veterinarian will check your Cavalier King Charles Spaniels’ heart at your routine veterinary appointments. When they do, they will listen for any heart murmurs, which are abnormal heart sounds that may indicate an underlying health problem, such as mitral valve disease. If they suspect that something is off, they will run a series of tests on your pup as a next step.

Mitral valve disease can be treated with heart medications, and many dogs can still enjoy an average lifespan with proper treatment from their veterinarian. (1)

Otitis (Ear Infections)

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have stunning, long ears that are a hallmark of their breed. However, their ears are more prone to infections which can be highly painful.

If your dog has an ear infection, they may shake their head and scratch their ears excessively in an attempt to alleviate their discomfort. You may also notice discharge, odor, and redness.

While ear infections are not typically dangerous to the affected dog’s long-term health, they can be highly uncomfortable and even painful, so they should be immediately addressed by your veterinarian. In many cases, your veterinarian will send you home with medication to fight the infection. (2)

Protect Your Spaniel


By six years of age, 70% of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels will develop signs of syringomyelia, according to one study by the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare.

Syringomyelia occurs when cavities form and fill with fluid in the spinal cord due to abnormal pressure in the skull. Common signs of syringomyelia include yelping after a change in posture, inability to move their neck without discomfort or pain, yelping, crying, and developing a wobble when they walk.

Unfortunately, syringomyelia has no cure. However, medical therapy can help to manage your dog’s pain levels, typically through medication. (3)


Commonly known as “pink eye,” both humans and dogs can develop this uncomfortable eye condition. Dogs have a third eyelid that is covered by the conjunctiva of their eyelid. If they have conjunctivitis, the conjunctiva becomes inflamed and red.

Common signs of conjunctivitis include redness, swelling, discharge from the eyes, squinting, and excessive blinking. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have beautiful doe eyes that make them especially prone to pink eye and other eye conditions, like cataracts. (4)

If you notice your Cavalier King Charles Spaniels is experiencing any irritation in their eye area, immediately reach out to your veterinarian. Many eye conditions, like conjunctivitis, can be treated quickly, relieving your pup’s discomfort.


Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are especially prone to gastritis, which is inflammation of the stomach lining. Gastritis can occur in acute or chronic episodes. Some cases are due to underlying health problems, while others result from eating spoiled or raw food, eating human foods, overeating, or eating non-food items, such as plants, foreign objects, or garbage.

Signs of gastritis include a lack of appetite, vomiting, dehydration, fatigue, blood in the feces, and abdominal pain. To diagnose gastritis, your veterinarian may run tests, such as blood work, urinalysis, ultrasounds, or fecal tests, on your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

The prognosis for gastritis is usually favorable. Many cases can be treated from home with your veterinarian’s guidance. More severe, chronic cases may require ongoing medication and fluid therapy if your dog becomes dehydrated. (5)

Get Pet Insurance for your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Our Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are beloved companions who deserve the best.

Routine veterinary care is critical in keeping your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel happy and healthy, as well as preventing and minimizing the risk of disease later on.

Get pet insurance now while your dog is healthy and give yourself peace of mind knowing that your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is covered!

Fetch your free quote below (it takes less than a minute to customize a plan).

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