Our Cockapoos are naturally prone to certain eye conditions, so it’s important to know what to look out for – and how to help them.
If you’re the owner of an adorable Cockapoo, you’ll know that their enthusiasm and love for life is infectious. As with any dog, it’s good to understand the particular health issues that might affect their breed. Cockapoos can be prone to a number of inherited conditions, including ear disorders, gastrointestinal issues, skin allergies and certain canine eye problems. But as a Cockapoo owner, there’s plenty that you can do to monitor your dog’s health and keep them happy and thriving.
Check your Cockapoo’s eyes regularly
It’s a good idea to give your Cockapoo a regular health check, including checking over their eyes for any problems. Make sure your dog’s eyes look bright and clear. If you spot anything amiss, such as excessive tears, redness, cloudiness or squinting, it’s always best to speak to your vet for advice.
A little discharge and debris caught in the corner of your dog’s eyes is normal, especially during spring, if your dog has allergies. To clean your Cockapoo’s eyes, you can use a cotton wool ball dipped in cooled boiled water and then squeezed out. Start from the inside of their eyes and gently wipe the damp cotton wool ball over your dog’s closed eyelid a few times to gently loosen and clean away any discharge. Use a fresh piece of cotton wool for each eye to avoid spreading bacteria between them.
Eye problems in Cockapoos
Cockapoos are no more likely than any other dog breed to suffer from eye injuries or infections, and many will go through life with no eye problems at all. But there are some inherited eye issues that Cockapoos are at greater risk of developing, particularly if one or both of their parents has the condition. Here, we’ve outlined some of the most common eye problems in Cockapoos, along with the symptoms to be aware of, to help you identify and manage these conditions in your dog.
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) in Cockapoos
This inherited condition can affect many dog breeds, including Cocker Spaniels and Poodles, which means that Cockapoos bred from these dogs may also be at risk. Over time, PRA can cause the retina at the back of your dog’s eye to deteriorate, gradually causing blindness. Both of your dog’s parents would, however, need to be genetic carriers of the disease in order for their pups to develop the condition – and even dogs that are carriers may never exhibit symptoms.
Symptoms to look out for
Your dog might bump into things, or seem unwilling to navigate unfamiliar areas. Their peripheral vision and vision in low-light and night-time conditions may also be increasingly affected, and their pupils may seem more dilated than normal.
PRA treatment in Cockapoos
While PRA cannot be treated, it doesn’t cause your Cockapoo any pain, and their sight loss will be very gradual. Many dogs adapt very well if their eyesight worsens slowly, with the love and support of their owners.
Glaucoma in Cockapoos
Glaucoma is caused by a build-up of pressure in the eye when fluid doesn’t drain properly. Primary glaucoma is an inherited form of the condition that is known to affect some Cocker Spaniels, meaning that it could be passed on to their Cockapoo puppies. One US study found that glaucoma was present in around 5.5% of American Cocker Spaniels.
Glaucoma doesn’t usually develop until dogs are mature. Any dog breed can suffer from secondary glaucoma, which is not inherited, but can be caused by other problems such as trauma, infection, cataracts or diabetes. Glaucoma in Cockapoos can be painful and lead to affected dogs losing their sight, but prompt treatment can help relieve and manage the condition.
Symptoms to look out for
Swelling of the eyeball, lots of tears, redness or cloudiness of the eye, wide or uneven pupils, excessive blinking or signs of pain.
Glaucoma treatment in Cockapoos
Your vet may prescribe strong anti-glaucoma medication and pain relief for a Cockapoo with glaucoma, followed by regular eye drops to keep the condition at bay. Treatment is often very effective. In serious cases, if your dog isn’t responding to glaucoma medication, your vet may suggest surgically removing one or both of their eyes to save them further pain, particularly if they have already lost their sight.
Cataracts in Cockapoos
Poodles and Cocker Spaniels are both more likely to develop cataracts than some dog breeds. This means their Cockapoo puppies are also at increased risk of inheriting this condition. A cataract occurs when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, causing a gradual loss of vision. In some cases, cataracts can also lead to secondary glaucoma.
Symptoms to look out for
Your dog’s eyes may look cloudy or blue, and your dog may start bumping into objects and seem reluctant to explore new places.
Cataract treatment in Cockapoos
Your vet will treat any underlying conditions that could be causing cataracts in your Cockapoo. Again, many dogs cope surprisingly well with cataracts and learn to get by with limited vision. In serious cases, cataract removal surgery is an option, although it will mean your dog can’t focus as well.
Cockapoo breed tests for eye health
Most breed associations for Cockapoos in the UK recommend that parent dogs should be genetically tested for inherited conditions like PRA and primary glaucoma. Some breeders may also test for another inherited eye condition related to PRA, retinal dysplasia. These eye tests will show whether your dog is clear, a carrier or affected.
- Clear: does not have the eye disease.
- Carrier: inherited one copy of the gene that codes for the eye disease from one of their parent dogs. Unlikely to develop the disease, but will pass this gene on to their puppies, which may or may not be affected by the disease.
- Affected: inherited two copies of the gene that codes for the eye disease. Chances of developing eye disease are likely. Genes will also be passed on to their puppies.
If you’re looking to buy a Cockapoo puppy, ask the breeders if they’ve tested the parents for these eye conditions, and whether you can have a copy of their results to confirm they are in the clear. Cockapoos that are carrying the genes for PRA and glaucoma should not be used for breeding, to avoid passing on these conditions, so responsible breeding and pet buying will greatly reduce your dog’s risks. If you already own a Cockapoo, you might decide to get them tested and then discuss their results with your vet.