Health Overview

All dogs, whether they are pedigree or non-pedigree, can suffer from health issues. In the case of pedigree dogs certain health issues tend to be more common in some breeds than others and Irish Setters are no exception.
For several years now, the health of pedigree dogs has been the focus of attention and, as asked by the Kennel Club, each breed has appointed a health committee to assess health problems in the breed. In September 2016 The Kennel Club launched a resource for Breed Clubs and individual breeders – the Breed Health and Conservation Plans project (BHCP). The purpose of the project is ”to ensure that all health concerns are identified through evidence-based criteria, and that breeders are provided with useful information and resources to support them in making balanced breeding decisions that make health a priority.” The KC is currently developing the evidence base of our BHCP document and a meeting will take place in the summer with discussions to formalize and agree an action plan.
In 2014 The Kennel Club conducted a health survey of pedigree dogs and the results for the breed can be viewed here:

As a breed we have 3 DNA tests which are available and all these are well used.
As a result of the tests for PRA rcd1 and CLAD neither problem has been identified in UK for many years, although we are aware there are unregistered CLAD carriers in the country.
The third, for PRA rcd4, only became available a few years ago, but it now means all breeders are able to breed a litter where no puppies will be genetically affected with PRA rcd4 with the possibility of going blind in later life because of rcd4.
Many breeders have their dog’s hip scored before they breed to help minimize the risk of producing puppies that may have hip dysplasia, which is seen in both mixed breeds as well as pure breeds. Happily Irish Setters do not appear on the BVA list of common breeds associated with HD. It is recommended that breeders should chose breeding stock that, ideally, have hip scores below the breed median score which for Irish Setters is 10-11, as at December 2016.
It is recognized that there is a higher prevalence of bloat and epilepsy in the breed than desired and conscientious breeders try to ensure the incidence of these conditions is kept as low as possible. It is important that dogs exhibiting symptoms for either of these conditions should not be bred as both conditions appear to have familial connections.
The breed health committee has recently decided to monitor the prevalence of cancer, although Irish Setters are not one of the breeds that are known to have a high incidence.
For more information on health please go to our sister site: