The name Collie can refer to many different breeds of dog, including the Border Collie and the Shetland Sheepdog, but the dog most commonly associated with the name is the Rough Collie, breed of Lassie, the famous TV starlet. These dogs are often affected by a genetic sensitivity to many drugs commonly used in veterinary practice. The eye condition, Collie eye anomaly, was named after this breed. This herding dog is very trainable and eager to please its owners. The Collie’s lifespan ranges from 8 to 12 years.
Primary Health Conditions of the Collie
Some breeds of Collie, including the well-known Rough Collie, are predisposed to a genetic anomaly within their MDR1 gene. This defect causes the Collie to be very sensitive to such drugs as ivermectin, used to treat parasitic worms in dogs, as well as a variety of antibiotics and steroids. The condition is not treatable, and dogs should be purchased from breeders who avoid mating affected dogs. Another inherited disease in this breed is Collie eye anomaly, caused by improper inner eye development and which can be fairly mild or lead to blindness. Again, proper breeding is the only solution to the disease.
Secondary Health Conditions of the Collie
The Collie is subject to gastric torsion, in which the stomach fills with gas and as a result becomes twisted. When torsion becomes too great, it can shut off blood to the stomach, leading to rapid and dangerous deterioration in health. The condition is very painful to the dog, and a veterinarian must be contacted quickly of symptoms of dry heaving or extreme discomfort present.
Dermatomyositis is a genetic condition involving lesions that develop on the Collie’s skin around the eyes, lips, and other areas. The lesions, which can range from mild to severe, usually develop by the time the Collie is one year old. The dog may be treated at the veterinarian and limited exposure to the sun may be recommended. Dogs with the condition should not be bred.
Collie Exercise and Walking Needs
This lively working dog needs a good deal of exercise and time off its leash. As a herding dog, the Collie enjoys running and may try to herd humans if not taught otherwise. Because of their thick coat, the Collie may not tolerate heat well and may dislike getting wet. Care should be taken not to overexert the Collie when it is hot outside, and the dog should be given a cool place to rest after exercise.
Collie Nutritional Needs
The Collie diet is typical for dogs of this size, requiring high quality dog foods rich in protein. Because the Collie can be prone to bloat and gastric torsion—a potentially serious condition—inexpensive dog foods containing bloat-inducing grains such as soy and corn should be avoided. Older Collies can have weight issues, so adjustments to food portions should be made as the dog ages and becomes less active.
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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.