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Australian Cattle Dog Health Information

By Lauren Leonardi . June 29, 2012 | See Comments

Australian Cattle Dog Health Information

The Australian Cattle dog is a medium sized dog, generally happy and healthy. Learn more about this breed and their particular health needs.

The Australian Cattle Dog is a medium sized dog, originally bred to assist in herding cattle, as its name suggests. It’s a generally healthy breed that requires plenty of exercise and stimulation. Most commonly, Australian Cattle Dogs may experience deafness or blindness, which are both hereditary conditions and can sometimes be avoided through careful breeding. Life expectancy is as high as 15 years.

Primary Health Conditions of the Australian Cattle Dog

Vision and hearing issues are common among Australian Cattle Dogs. Breeders may perform brainstem auditory evoked response tests (BAER tests) for hearing, and progressive rod-cone degeneration test (PRCD tests) for vision, in order to remove from breeding lines dogs affected with these issues. However, unlike hip dysplasia, testing the parents of the pups won’t always indicate whether a puppy might inherit the disabilities, so there’s no real way to ensure 100% prevention of eye or ear issues in the breeding process. Most hearing or eye problems will present later in the dog’s life, at around 8-10 years of age. Some speculate that the same gene that causes deafness in dalmatians, may also cause deafness in cattle dogs, and that this gene could be related to the white skin pigmentation found in both breeds. Fewer than 15% of Australian Cattle Dogs are known to be deaf in one ear, and less than 3% are deaf in both ears.

Secondary Health Conditions of the Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dogs may be predisposed to hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is a painful condition of the hip joint that can present itself as early as two years of age. Pet owners should work with a breeder who is well versed in breeding lines, and screens for all predisposition in order to remove affected dogs from the breeding line. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, or OFA, is one such evaluation service that can inform breeders and owners alike as to the likelihood of hip dysplasia in a line.

Australian Cattle Dog Exercise and Walking Needs

Australian Cattle Dogs need plenty of mental and physical exercise. As suggested by their name, they’re herding dogs, bred to be able to withstand the challenge of working long hours on rough terrain. Because they’re independent and intelligent, their bodies and minds should be regularly challenged. Running and jogging every day works well to satisfy their exercise needs. Long vigorous walks twice a day are the bare minimum of exercise they should get. Obstacle courses or complicated tricks can work well to keep their minds nimble, and to stave off anxiety.

Australian Cattle Dog Nutritional Needs

The Australian Cattle Dog has no specific nutritional needs, and may be fed any quality high protein dog food. Because of their pigmentation, they are prone to hot spots or flaky skin. If these issues present, oftentimes a switch in dog food can improve the condition. Try changing proteins and grain type, and look for foods or supplements high in Omega 3 and Vitamins A and E.

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This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.

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