The FSSA held a cardiac clinic in June in conjunction with the 2023 national specialty.  The informal results were that eight of twenty-two Field Spaniels examined were diagnosed with some type of heart disease.  Mitral valve dysplasia was one of the types of cardiac disease found in Field Spaniels.

Based on owner-released cardiac data and published OFA health reports, the committee has taken two important steps to deal with the concerns.

  1. Change the breed’s CHIC requirement for heart clearance to “advanced cardiac”.  Advanced cardiac requires an echocardiogram. This is necessary because an echocardiogram can detect heart murmurs that might be missed by a simple cardiac auscultation. The goal is to detect heart defects before a dog is used for breeding.
  2. The FSSA will refund Field Spaniel owners $50.00 plus the $15.00 OFA submission fee for every Field Spaniel echocardiogram.  The results must be submitted to the OFA in order to qualify for the reimbursement.  The goal is to increase the number of Field Spaniels tested and entered in the database.  Please contact Pam Boyer for information about receiving the reimbursement.

The health of Field Spaniels is a top concern for all.  Some breeders have already decided to only breed dogs that have been cleared with an echocardiogram.  This is an important step in protecting the future health of the breed.  Breeders and owners are encouraged to openly discuss their concerns with each other and with the health committee.

Cardiac clinics are often held in conjunction with dog events.  Please visit the OFA health clinic website to see if any listed on their calendar are near you.  The health committee will also post information about upcoming cardiac clinics.

OFA reports can be accessed at CHIC programs.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a breed long associated with cardiac problems.  Please visit their website for more information about that breed’s cardiac issues and how they are being dealt with.  Your dog’s cardiologist is also an excellent source of information.

Finally, the health committee is here to answer your questions and address your concerns.  Feel free to contact any health committee member.  The committee also encourages every Field Spaniel owner to complete the CHIC health survey.

Click “fill out form” and then submit.

The FSSA Health Committee,
Pamela Boyer
Anita Eley
Linda Blaser
Gabby Murdock
Judy Pollard