Disease Research

The Research Universe – Introduction

We know that your dog’s health is important to you.   Except for the current Cataract Research with the University of Pennsylvania which focuses on cocker spaniels, much of the research we fund is sponsored by the AKC Canine Health Foundation.   By joining in with other major research on issues that affect our dogs, our funds can go further.    When possible, we will search for cocker-specific research as well. 

We will continually expand and enhance this section with other diseases and research associated so that the information here can be helpful whether your dog is healthy or affected by a disease.  Please remember that the information contained here cannot substitute for the advice of your veterinarian but we hope will make you a more informed breeder or owner.


Hemangiosarcoma is an aggressive and common cancer in dogs.  It can develop in any tissue or organ, but most commonly affects the spleen, right atrium of the heart, and the skin.

Since 1995, CHF and its donors have invested over $4.1 million in 29 grants in understanding mechanisms and causes, new targets for treatment, and early diagnostics for canine hemangiosarcoma, aggressive cancer in dogs. CHF, along with its donors, continues to address this devastating disease through this initiative launched in 2018.

For more information about this disease and current research click on this link.

AKC Canine Health Foundation | Hemangiosarcoma Research Initiative (akcchf.org)


Epilepsy affects one in every 100 dogs and refers to recurrent seizures resulting from an abnormality in brain function. The condition can be inherited (genetic epilepsy), caused by structural problems in the brain (symptomatic epilepsy), or may be of unknown cause (idiopathic epilepsy). Determination of the appropriate treatment for canine epilepsy, as well as prognosis for the condition, depends on an accurate diagnosis of the type and cause of seizures.

Since 1995, CHF and its donors have invested more than $1.47 million in 21 grants to study canine epilepsy. Ongoing studies are exploring the use and effects of dietary supplements in the treatment of canine epilepsy, underlying genetics and disease mechanisms, and the role of the gastrointestinal tract and microbiome in the development and treatment of this disease.

For more information about this disease and current research click on this link

AKC Canine Health Foundation | Epilepsy Research Initiative (akcchf.org)

General Infectious Diseases

Infectious diseases are potentially life-threatening and can affect all dogs. Many of these diseases are also zoonotic, meaning they can affect humans, too. Being aware of key clinical signs and preventive measures is important to keep your dog healthy.

For more information about infectious diseases, how they can affect your dog, and research in progress click on this link.

AKC Canine Health Foundation | Current Topics in Infectious Disease (akcchf.org)

Xylitol Is Poisonous To Dogs

What is xylitol?  Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol found in most plant materials. It is used as a sugar substitute in “sugar-free” chewing gums, mints, and other foods because it has fewer calories and a lower glycemic index than common table sugar (sucrose). It is also used as a medicine, a source of energy in tube feeding formulas for people, and in products that treat dry mouth and tooth decay.

For more information on how Xylitol is toxic for dogs click on this link.