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Border Collie

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BorderCollie1of3Your Border Collie

Caring for Your Faithful Companion

Border Collies: What a Unique Breed!

Your dog is special ! She’s your best friend, companion, và a source of unconditional love. Chances are that you chose her because you lượt thích Sheepdogs và you expected her Khủng have certain traits that would fit your lifestyle :

  • Highly active and eager to have a purpose
  • Above average intelligence and trainability when positive reinforcement training methods are used
  • Vigilant watchdog with a ready bark
  • Alert, curious, and busy
  • Athletic and agile
  • Well suited as a companion or working dog

However, no dog is perfect ! You may have also noticed these characteristics :

  • Needs a lot of activity and mental stimulation to avoid boredom vices
  • Strong herding instinct can lead to chasing cars and small animals
  • Prone to separation anxiety
  • Needs frequent attention from her family
  • Can be snappy with children
  • Sheds quite a bit and needs to be brushed regularly

Is it all worth it ? Of course ! She’s đầy đủ of personality, & you love her for it ! Widely considered the most intelligent dog breed, she can be a handful. Without proper exercise & mental stimulation she can develop problem behaviors .
Border Collies were bred as herding dogs in the countryside between Scotland & England. They are known for their intelligence và the intense stare they use on flocks of sheep. They are extremely active dogs that bởi vì best when they have a job. Their natural herding abilities can lead Khủng herding anything that moves, including children và small animals. Border Collies are generally a healthy breed with an average life span of 12-15 years. Some can suffer from common health concerns lượt thích hip dysplasia, epilepsy, và hypothyroidism. Early diagnosis is the key béo a long và happy life, so sánh be sure Khủng schedule routine checkups .

Your Border Collie’s Health

We know that because you care so sánh much about your dog, you want lớn take good care of her. That is why we have summarized the health concerns we will be discussing with you kết thúc the life of your Border Collie. By knowing about health concerns specific phệ Border Collies, we can tailor a preventive health kế hoạch Khủng watch for và hopefully prevent some predictable risks .
Many diseases & health conditions are genetic, meaning they are related Khủng your pet’s breed. There is a general consensus among canine genetic researchers & veterinary practitioners that the conditions we’ve described herein have a significant rate of incidence và / or impact in this breed. That does not mean your dog will have these problems ; it just means that she is more at risk than other dogs. We will describe the most common issues seen in Border Collies Khủng give you an idea of what may come up in her future. Of course, we can’t cover every possibility here, so sánh always kiểm tra with us if you notice any unusual signs or symptoms .
This guide contains general health information important Khủng all canines as well as the most important genetic predispositions for Border Collies. This information helps you & us together kế hoạch for your pet’s chất lượng medical needs. At the over of the booklet, we have also included a mô tả tìm kiếm of what you can bởi at home page Khủng keep your Sheepdog looking và feeling her best. You will know what lớn watch for, & we will all feel better knowing that we’re taking the best possible care of your pal .

Brushing your dog’s teeth daily will prevent periodontal disease.

General Health Information for your Border Collie

Dental Disease

Dental disease is the most common chronic problem in pets, affecting 80 % of all dogs by age two. And unfortunately, your Border Collie is more likely than other dogs Khủng have problems with her teeth. It starts with tartar build-up on the teeth và progresses mập infection of the gums và roots of the teeth. If we don’t prevent or treat dental disease, your buddy will thảm bại her teeth & be in danger of damaging her kidneys, liver, heart, và joints. In fact, your Border Collie’s life span may be cut short by one bự three years ! We’ll clean your dog’s teeth regularly và let you know what you can vì at trang chính Khủng keep those pearly whites clean .


Border Collies are susceptible Khủng bacterial & viral infections — the same ones that all dogs can get — such as parvo, rabies, & distemper. Many of these infections are preventable through vaccination, which we will recommend based on the diseases we see in our area, her age, & other factors .


Obesity can be a significant health problem in Border Collies. It is a serious disease that may cause or worsen joint problems, metabolic và digestive disorders, back pain & heart disease. Though it’s tempting phệ give your pal food when she looks at you with those soulful eyes, you can “ love her Khủng death ” with leftover people food & doggie treats. Instead, give her a hug, brush her fur or teeth, play a game with her, or perhaps take her for a walk. She’ll feel better, & so sánh will you !
Roundworm egg as seen under the microscope.


All kinds of worms & bugs can invade your Sheepdog’s body, inside và out. Everything from fleas và ticks mập ear mites can infest her giao diện và ears. Hookworms, roundworms, heartworms, & whipworms can get into her system in a number of ways : drinking unclean water, walking on contaminated soil, or being bitten by an infected mosquito. Some of these parasites can be transmitted phệ you or a family thành viên & are a serious concern for everyone. For your canine friend, these parasites can cause pain, discomfort, & even death, so sánh it’s important that we kiểm tra for them on a regular basis. We’ll also recommend preventive medication as necessary phệ keep her healthy .

Spay or Neuter

One of the best things you can vì for your Border Collie is lớn have her spayed ( neutered for males ). In females, this means we surgically remove the ovaries và usually the uterus, và in males, it means we surgically remove the testicles. Spaying or neutering decreases the likelihood of certain types of cancers và eliminates the possibility of your pet becoming pregnant or fathering unwanted puppies. Performing this surgery also gives us a chance, while your pet is under anesthesia, bự identify & address some of the diseases your dog is likely Khủng develop. For example, if your pet needs hip X-rays or a puppy tooth extracted, this would be a good phút giây. This is convenient for you và easy for your friend. Routine blood testing prior lớn surgery also helps us phệ identify và take precautions for common problems that increase anesthetic or surgical risk. Don’t worry ; we’ll discuss the specific problems we will be looking for when the giây phút arrives .

Genetic Predispositions for Border Collies

Hip Dysplasia

You’ve probably heard of hip dysplasia, an inherited disease that causes the hip joints bự khung improperly và leads bự arthritis : it is common in Border Collies. You may notice that he has lameness in his hind legs or has difficulty getting up from lying xuống dốc. We can treat the arthritis — the sooner the better — béo avoid discomfort và pain. We’ll take X-rays of your dog’s joints béo identify the disease as early as possible. Surgery is sometimes considered in severe và life-limiting cases of hip dysplasia. Keep in mind that overweight dogs may develop arthritis years earlier than those of normal weight, causing undue pain và suffering .
Osteochondritis dissecans of the shoulder joint. Note the loss of cartilage on the ball portion of the joint.

Bone Disorder

When Border Collie puppies are allowed phệ grow too quickly, the cartilage in their joints may not attach béo the bone properly. This problem is known as osteochondritis dissecans or OCD. If this occurs, surgery may be required phệ fix the problem. It’s best bự stick béo our recommended growth rate of no more than four pounds per week. Don’t overfeed him và don’t supplement with additional calcium. Feed a large-breed puppy diet rather than an adult or a regular puppy diet. Weigh your puppy every three béo four weeks .


There are three types of seizures in dogs : reactive, secondary, & primary. Reactive seizures are caused by the brain’s reaction béo a metabolic problem lượt thích low blood sugar, organ failure, or a toxin. Secondary seizures are the result of a brain tumor, stroke, or trauma. If no other cause can be found, the disease is called primary, or idiopathic epilepsy. This problem is often an inherited condition, with Border Collies commonly afflicted. If your friend is prone bự seizures, they will usually begin between six months và three years of age. An initial diagnostic workup may help find the cause. Lifelong medication is usually necessary bự help keep seizures under control, with periodic blood testing required Khủng màn hình side effects và effectiveness. If your dog has a seizure : Carefully prevent him from injuring himself, but don’t try phệ control his mouth or tongue. It won’t help him, và he may bite you accidentally ! Note the length of the seizure, & Gọi us or an emergency hospital .
The thyroid glands rest on both sides of the neck alongside the windpipe.

Thyroid Problems

Border Collies are prone phệ a common condition called hypothyroidism in which the body toàn thân doesn’t make enough thyroid hooc môn. Signs can include dry giao diện & coat, hair loss, susceptibility Khủng other hình mẫu diseases, weight gain, fearfulness, aggression, or other behavioral changes. We’ll conduct a blood screening chạy thử annually bự màn hình hiển thị for the disease. Treatment is usually simple : replacement hormones given in the size of a pill .

Separation Anxiety

Some dogs really must be with their human companions all the phút giây or they quickly become bored or anxious ; especially if they are not getting enough exercise và mental stimulation. A scheduled routine, lots bự bởi, và a stable trang chính environment help prevent these common behavior problems. Make sure your Border Collie puppy gets alone giây phút as well as play giây phút so sánh he’s used phệ being by himself for short periods .

Noise Phobia

Fear of storms, fireworks và loud noises is common in dogs of all breeds. Dogs that are terrified can hurt themselves, especially when they frantically try phệ escape or chew through doors, kennels, or walls. Working with us lớn find an appropriate kế hoạch for your Border Collie is a process we will approach together. We want phệ address his problem when signs first appear as they tend béo get worse with thời gian .


Cancer is a leading cause of death in older dogs. Your Sheepdog will likely live longer than many other breeds & therefore is more prone mập get cancer in his golden years. Many cancers are cured by surgically removing them, và some types are treatable with chemotherapy. Early detection is critical ! We’ll perform periodic diagnostic tests & look for lumps & bumps when we examine your pet .

Multidrug Resistance

Multidrug resistance is a genetic defect in a ren called MDR1. If your Border Collie has this mutation, it can affect his processing of many drugs, including substances commonly used béo treat parasites, diarrhea & even cancer. For years veterinarians simply avoided using ivermectin in herding breeds, but now there is a DNA kiểm tra that can specifically identify dogs who are at risk for side effects from certain medications. Testing him early in life can prevent drug-related toxicity .

Overheating Disorder: Malignant Hyperthermia

Malignant means deadly or dangerous và hyperthermia refers Khủng overheating. Some Border Collies seem mập have a defective “ internal thermostat ” & can develop dangerously high body toàn thân temperatures leading bự heat stroke, muscle rigidity, và organ damage. This is especially common during và after anesthesia, thus we will màn hình his temperature closely béo prevent complications following surgical or dental procedures. DNA testing is available & carriers should be screened & identified before breeding .

Heart Disease

Border Collies are susceptible mập a condition called Patent Ductus Arteriosis, in which a small vessel that carries blood between two parts of the heart does not close shortly after birth as it should. This results in too much blood being carried Khủng the lungs, fluid build-up, và strain on the heart. Outward signs may be mild or you may see coughing, fatigue during exercise, weight loss, shortness of breath, or weakness in the hind limbs. We listen for a specific type of heart murmur lớn diagnose this problem during his examinations. If your pal has this condition, we may recommend surgery Khủng close the problematic vessel .

Liver Problems

Your Border Collie is more likely than other dogs béo have a liver disorder called portosystemic shunt ( PSS ). Some of the blood supply that should go bự the liver goes around it instead, depriving the liver of the blood flow it needs lớn grow & function properly. If your friend has PSS, his liver cannot remove toxins from his bloodstream effectively. To kiểm tra for this problem, we’ll conduct a liver function kiểm tra in addition Khủng a standard pre-anesthetic panel every thời gian he undergoes anesthesia. If he develops symptoms such as stunted growth or seizures, we’ll chạy thử his blood & possibly conduct an ultrasound scan of his liver. Surgery may be needed, but in some cases, we can treat with a special diet & medication .

Nutrient Malabsorption

Cobalamin ( Vitamin B12 ) is an essential nutrient necessary for life. A genetic defect more likely in Border Collies disrupts the absorption of this nutrient from the intestines causing poor appetite, stunted growth, protein loss, và low red & trắng blood cell counts. Don’t worry ; we can chạy thử for this defect with blood work. If your buddy is affected, cobalamin injections will be needed for the rest of his life. Luckily, this disease is rare .

Blood Disorder

A relatively rare blood disorder called Pelger-Huet Anomaly can occur in your Border Collie. If he is a carrier of the disease, his infection fighting White blood cells will look abnormal microscopically, but operate normally. Puppies that inherit a copy of this abnormal ren from both parents, however, usually die before or shortly after birth. For this reason, it is important Khủng diagnose breeding dogs who are carriers of this defect so sánh they don’t pass it along lớn their offspring .

Nerve Disease

Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis, shortened phệ NCL, is a progressive neurologic disease found in several breeds, including your Border Collie. Clinical signs usually appear in younger dogs, between around one bự three years of age. In the early stages, rear leg weakness và imbalance can occur. It can progress mập weakness involving all four legs, & some dogs also thất bại vision. There is currently no effective treatment for this disease, but a genetic kiểm tra is available. Dogs carrying the mutation should not be used for breeding, since it is readily passed béo future generations .

Eye Problems

Not many things have as dramatic an impact on your dog’s unique of life as the proper functioning of his eyes. Unfortunately, Border Collies can inherit or develop a number of different eye conditions, some of which may cause blindness if not treated right away, và most of which can be extremely painful ! We will evaluate his eyes at every examination béo look for any signs of concern .
Cataracts are a common cause of blindness in older Border Collies. We’ll watch for the lenses of his eyes béo become more opaque — meaning they look cloudy instead of clear — when we examine him. Many dogs adjust well lớn losing their vision và get along just fine. Surgery béo remove cataracts & restore sight may also be an option .
Pannus is lượt thích a suntan on your dog’s eyeball. In affected breeds, inflammatory cells infiltrate the cornea ( clear part of the eye ) which darkens with exposure béo ultraviolet light, và may lead béo complete blindness. It’s considered phệ have a genetic component, since the condition is predominant in certain breeds, lượt thích your Border Collie. We’ll watch his eyes closely for early signs, và start preventive eye medications if needed. Doggie sunglasses are also an option Khủng help reduce sun exposure .
Collie eye anomaly is a genetically linked disease that causes abnormal development of the eye in Border Collies. In severe cases, the disease can lead mập blindness. Unfortunately, there is no treatment. It is important phệ have a thorough eye examination prior bự breeding .
Progressive Retinal Atrophy ( PRA ) is an inherited disease in which the eyes are genetically programmed béo go blind. Unfortunately, Border Collies are a bit more likely than other dogs phệ have this condition. PRA is not painful, but also not curable. In dogs with the bad gen, early symptoms such as night blindness or dilated pupils generally begin around three bự five years of age. A genetic demo is available for this condition .

bordercollie3of3Taking Care of Your Border Collie at Home

Much of what you can vì Khủng keep your dog happy & healthy is common sense, just lượt thích it is for people. Watch her diet, make sure she gets plenty of exercise, regularly brush her teeth & coat, & Gọi us or a pet emergency hospital when something seems unusual ( see “ What Khủng Watch For ” below ). Be sure bự adhere bự the schedule of examinations và vaccinations that we recommend for her. This is when we’ll give her the necessary “ check-ups ” & demo for diseases và conditions that are common in Border Collies. Another very important step in caring for your pet is signing up for pet health insurance. There will certainly be medical tests và procedures she will need throughout her life và pet health insurance will help you cover those costs .

Routine Care, Diet, and Exercise

Build her routine care into your schedule lớn help your Sheepdog live longer, stay healthier, & be happier during her lifetime. We cannot overemphasize the importance of a proper diet và exercise routine .

  • Supervise your pet as you would a toddler. Keep doors closed, pick up after yourself, and block off rooms as necessary. This will keep her out of trouble and away from objects she shouldn’t put in her mouth.
  • Brush her coat at least weekly.
  • Border Collies generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!
  • Clean her ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—we’ll show you how!
  • She’s a very smart dog with lots of energy, so keep her mind and body active, or she’ll get bored. That’s when the naughty stuff starts.
  • She’s an athletic and acrobatic dog that excels at agility competitions, flyball, and herding events.
  • Border Collies can be sound sensitive, so be prepared for thunderstorms, New Year’s Eve, and The Fourth of July!
  • Keep your dog’s diet consistent and don’t give her people food.
  • Feed a high-quality diet appropriate for her age.
  • Exercise your dog regularly, but don’t overdo it at first.

What to Watch For

Any abnormal symptom could be a sign of serious disease, or it could just be a minor or temporary problem. The important thing is phệ be able Khủng tell when mập seek veterinary help, & how urgently. Many diseases cause dogs Khủng have a characteristic combination of symptoms, which together can be a clear signal that your Border Collie needs help .


Office calls

Give us a Điện thoại tư vấn for an appointment if you notice any of these types of signs :

  • Change in appetite or water consumption
  • Tartar build-up, bad breath, red gums, or broken teeth
  • Itchy skin (scratching, chewing or licking), hair loss
  • Lethargy, mental dullness, or excessive sleeping
  • Fearfulness, aggression, or other behavioral changes


Seek medical care immediately if you notice any of these types of signs :

  • Scratching or shaking the head, tender ears, or ear discharge
  • Inability or straining to urinate; discolored urine
  • Cloudiness, redness, itching, or any other abnormality involving the eyes
  • Leg stiffness, reluctance to rise, sit, use stairs, run, jump, or “bunny hopping”
  • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors
  • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain
  • Anxiety, destructive behaviors, vocalization, hiding, panting, drooling
  • Lethargy, drooling, or abnormal behavior following drug administration
  • Fatigue during exercise, coughing, or shortness of breath
  • Slow or stunted growth; sometimes seizures after eating

Partners in Health Care

DNA testing is a rapidly advancing field with mới ra tests constantly emerging mập help in the diagnosis of inherited diseases before they can become a problem for your friend. For the most up-to-date information on DNA & other screening tests available for your pal, visit www. Genesis4Pets. com .
Your Border Collie counts on you phệ take good care of her, & we look forward mập working with you phệ ensure that she lives a long và healthy life. Our goal is phệ provide the best health care possible : health care that’s based on her breed, lifestyle, & age. Please tương tác us when you have questions or concerns .


  • Ackerman L. The Genetic Connection: A Guide to Health Problems in Purebred Dogs. Second edition. AAHA Press; 2011.
  • Bell JS, Cavanagh KE, Tilley LP, Smith FW. Veterinary medical guide to dog and cat breeds. Jackson, Wyoming. Teton New Media; 2012.
  • Gough A, Thomas A. Breed Predispositions to Disease in Dogs and Cats. 2nd Edition. Wiley-Blackwell; 2010.
  • Crook A, Dawson S, Cote E, MacDonald S, Berry J. Canine Inherited Disorders Database [Internet]. University of Prince Edward Island. 2011. [cited 2013 Apr 11]. Available from: http:/
  • Breed Specific Health Concerns [Internet]. American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, Inc. [cited 2013 Apr 11]. Available from: http:/
  • Stein E, Howard M, et al. American Border Collie Association Website [Internet]. Perkinston (MS). American Border Collie Association, Inc. 2012. [cited 2013 Apr 11]. Available from: http:/

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