According to statistics developed and maintained by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) since 1985, adult Boykin Spaniels have an alarmingly high incidence rate (> 30%) of hip dysplasia, although the rate is declining in the past 7 years due to the emphasis placed by the Boykin Spaniel Foundation. Canine hip dysplasia is considered by scientists to be both hereditary and acquired (due to diet, too strenuous exercise, spay/neuter.)
The breed also has a susceptibility toward inherited heart disease, eye disease and patella luxation. Skin and coat problems do exist and may be linked to thyroid or endocrine disorders; most, however, are due to mites and other vermin which are acquired as puppies when raised in unsanitary conditions. Elbow dysplasia, Cushing's disease and hypothyroidism are known in the breed.
In early 2010 exercise-induced collapse was positively identified in the breed by the University of Minnesota's Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory. In 2013, the Boykin Spaniel Foundation in conjunction with Cornell University's Optigen laboratory did a random sampling of 180+ adult Boykin spaniels for Collie Eye Anomaly, an inherited disease of the eye which causes malformation of eye components and impaired vision, including partial-to-full blindness. A year later, the Boykin Spaniel Foundation did another 180-dog random sample for Degenerative Myelopathy, another inheritable disease which causes adult dogs to develop gradual, fatal deterioration of the spinal cord and results in death when the afflicted dogs are middle age. DNA testing of these three autosomal recessive diseases can absolutely identify genetic carriers (one copy of the gene) and at-risk (2 copies of the gene) individuals.
Before being used for breeding dogs should be tested for hips, hereditary eye disease, and heart/cardiac (specifically pulmonary stenosis), hereditary patella luxation, and hereditary exercise-induced collapse, DM and CEA. Eye examinations should be done annually.