Cocker Spaniel Club of the ACT
 

Adult Onset Neuropathy (AON)

Information has been sourced from The Kennel Club (UK)

What is AON (Adult Onset Neuropathy)? 

AON is an inherited neurological disorder characterised by a weakness in the hind limbs, eventually leading to weakness in the front limbs. Neurological signs of this condition seem to progress gradually over 3 to 4 years. 

Clinical signs usually begin between 7 and a half to 9 years of age. These signs include weakening and unsteady hind limbs and uncoordinated movement. The weakness eventually progresses to include the front limbs. When all limbs are affected, there may also be difficulty in swallowing. 

The disease is described as an autosomal recessive condition and is unique to Cocker Spaniels. This means that a dog must inherit two copies of an abnormal gene before its health is affected. A dog that inherits only one copy of the abnormal gene (from its mother or its father) will have no signs of the disease, but will be a carrier and may pass the gene on to any offspring.

Methods and prospects for elimination of the problem 

Efforts are ongoing to eliminate the disease from the Cocker spaniel breed using DNA testing and careful breeding practices. Responsible breeders will only to mate only two clear dogs, or one clear and one carrier dog, to produce unaffected offspring.