Breed-related disease: Border Collie

The classic working farm dog, the Border Collie originated in the border country between Scotland and England. Farmers bred their own individual varieties of sheepdogs for the hilly area. As Borders often tended their flock alone, they had to think independently and be able to run around 50 miles a day in hilly country. Considered highly intelligent, extremely energetic, acrobatic and athletic, they frequently compete with great success in sheepdog trials and dog sports. They are often cited as the most intelligent of all domestic dogs. Border Collies continue to be employed in their traditional work of herding livestock throughout the world and are kept as pets.

Border collies are active, working dogs best suited to country living. If confined without activity and company, these dogs can become unhappy and destructive. The breed is highly intelligent, learns quickly and responds well to praise. Border collies are extremely energetic dogs and must have the opportunity to get lots of exercise. They love to run. They also need ample attention from their owners and a job to do, whether that be herding livestock or fetching a ball.

They should be socialized well from the time they are young to prevent shyness around strangers, and they should have obedience training, which can help deter nipping behavior and a tendency to run off or chase cars.

Below we resume some important diseases more common in your Border Collie.

  1. Dental Disease

Dental disease is the most common chronic problem in pets affecting 80% of all dogs by age two. Unfortunately, your Border Collie is more likely than other dogs to have problems with her teeth. Dental disease starts with tartar build-up on the teeth and progresses to infection of the gums and roots of the teeth. If we don’t prevent or treat dental disease, your buddy may lose her teeth and be in danger of damaging her kidneys, liver, heart, and joints. In fact, your Border Collie’s life span may even be cut short by one to three years!

  1. Cancer

Cancer is a leading cause of death in older dogs. Your Collie will likely live longer than many other breeds and therefore is more prone to get cancer in his golden years. Many cancers are curable by surgical removal, and some types are treatable with chemotherapy. Early detection is critical!

  1. Multidrug Resistance

Multidrug resistance is a genetic defect in a gene called MDR1. If your Border Collie has this mutation, it can affect the way his body processes different drugs, including substances commonly used to treat parasites, diarrhea, and even cancer. For years, veterinarians simply avoided using ivermectin in herding breeds, but now there is a DNA test that can specifically identify dogs who are at risk for side effects from certain medications. Testing your pet early in life can prevent drug-related toxicity.

  1. Neurological disorders

Although the Border Collie is generally a breed noted for its vitality, they are unfortunately prone to canine epilepsy, a neurological disorder that is the result of an irregular neuroelectric activity. Signs of idiopathic epilepsy include seizures in the form of spasms, twitching, convulsions, and in extreme cases, a loss of consciousness. Idiopathic epilepsy is the most common form of the disease seen in Border Collies. A hereditary condition, IE is usually observed between 6 months and 5 years of age.

  1. Heart disorders

A congenital heart disease is a common genetic defect that Border Collies are sadly predisposed to, Patent Ductus Arteriosus(POA) is a hereditary abnormality commonly observed in dogs. This heart disease typically leads to an overload of blood on the left side of the heart. In severe cases, it may lead to heart failure and death.

  1. Hormonal disorders

Another inherited disease that Border Collies are unfortunately subjected to include hypothyroidism, a condition that disrupts the normal production of hormones. You may observe varying signs in a dog affected by this condition, including inactivity or lethargy, weight gain, and hair loss. Once your vet has run a series of tests, if the dog has been diagnosed with this genetic defect, the dog may be placed on medication to regulate their hormonal levels.




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