The Border Collie was bred as a working dog and as such is an extremely energetic, robust breed. This dog’s respiratory and circulatory systems are strong and healthy. Like most medium sized dogs, the Border Collie is susceptible to some skeletal issues such as hip dysplasia. A condition unique to the breed is Collie Eye, which may cause blindness in the long run, is genetically inherited, and has no treatment. The lifespan for this loyal, intelligent dog is 11 to 15 years.
Primary Health Conditions of the Border Collie
Hip dysplasia is a genetic disorder that affects approximately 12% of Border Collies. This figure is in the middle range for dog breeds of this size and build. The condition occurs when the ball and socket of the hind legs don’t properly fit with one another. Hip dysplasia may present as early as 5 months, and will appear in the form of lameness or stiffness in the hind legs. The discomfort associated with hip dysplasia may be treated with corticosteroids or anti-inflammatories, administered orally via a treat or added to food as a nutritional supplement. Depending on the severity of the dysplasia, injections of corticosteroids by a veterinarian, or even surgery, may ultimately be necessary.
Collie Eye is a congenital condition in which the eye, particularly the retina, do not develop sufficiently, leading to eyesight problems. The condition is usually mild and is not progressive, though at times it can be serious.
The Border Collie is also prone to epilepsy. Canine epilepsy is generally treatable, though some veterinarians find the condition to be more difficult to treat in this breed.
Secondary Health Conditions of the Border Collie
Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses, or NCL, is a serious albeit rare disease that is limited to show dogs of this breed. It may present through motor decline and loss of coordination. Treatment is unavailable, and dogs with the disease rarely live past 2 years.
Another serious but rare condition of the Border Collie is Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome, or TNS, in which the marrow creates white blood cells but cannot release them into circulation. TNS may present as overall poor health - poorly developed coat, problems digesting food, trouble moving around. This condition is difficult to treat and can lead to death.
Hyperthyroidism is an occasional condition with Border Collies and is typically highly treatable.
Border Collie Exercise and Walking Needs
The Border Collie is a working dog, bred to herd sheep along the English/Scottish border; accordingly, this dog is exceptionally energetic, athletic, and active and needs a great deal of exercise and movement. Long walks with a lot of active play are in order several times each day. The Border Collie is well known for its catching and retrieving abilities, so play with a Frisbee or ball is ideal. Collies who do not get sufficient stimulation can cause a good deal of mischief, needing to put their intelligence and inventiveness to use elsewhere.
Border Collie Nutritional Needs
The active Border Collie should be fed twice a day with a high-quality, protein-rich food. An adult dog generally requires about 1.5 to 2 cups of dry food each day. This breed tends to stay trim and fit, but older dogs may begin to put on weight. Adjustment to feeding routines may then be in order.
More on Important Health Tips
Nutrition For Your Senior Dog
How To Teach Your Dog To Fetch
Treat Your Dog's Hip Dysplasia Through Diet
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.