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  • Writer's pictureSympa

What Are Common Health Concerns?

Our breeding stock have been certified through Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and our stud dogs have their Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) Certificates meaning they have submitted the minimal requirements according the American Shetland Sheepdog Association.

HIP DYSPLASIA Hip Dysplasia can be ruled out by taking x-rays of the hips. HD can be treated by surgery to reduce the pain and possibly create an artificial joint. Testing performed by a veterinarian of radiographs, and evaluated by OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals).

HYPOTHYROIDISM Shelties are also at risk for thyroid problems, if your Sheltie seems to be gaining or losing weight or has a poor coat quality, make sure you get a good physical exam done before problems get too out of hand. NOTE: Shelties do not have a “normal” range of thyroid hormones as compared to other breeds. There are full panel tests that can be submitted to OFA for certification of a normal thyroid profile. Please refer to this website for further information:

vWD Another problem seen more recently in Shelties is VWd (Von Willebrands dz.). VWD is the most common inherited bleeding disorder of animals. It is caused by a deficiency in the amount of a protein needed to help platelets seal broken blood vessels. The average diagnosis for this is about four years of age. One study showed that 28% of Shelties had abnormally low concentrations of von Willebrand factor (which allows the blood to clot). What are some of the signs of VWD? Many dogs with VWD never show outward evidence of having the disease. Others may hemorrhage from the nose, vagina, or urinary bladder or oral mucous membranes; prolonged bleeding after trauma or surgery is common. Females may bleed excessively after giving birth. In affected dogs with uncontrolled hemorrhage, death may occur. How is VWD diagnosed? A screening test, called the buccal mucosal screening time, may be performed in the veterinarian's office. Prolonged bleeding on this test can raise the suspicion of the disease, especially in breeds known to be at risk. For owners who wish to confirm the diagnosis, it is possible to determine the exact amount of von Willebrand protein present in the blood. It is often reported that a pet has undergone routine spay or neuter as a pup. An uncomplicated recovery from such procedures does not eliminate the possibility that a dog may be affected; some dogs do not become obvious "bleeders" until later in life. There are several labs that will certify Shelties to be clear/normal of vWD to be submitted to OFA.

HEMOPHILIA A & B Hemophilia is a bleeding disorder of varying severity that is due to a deficiency in specific clotting factors. Normally the body responds to an injury that causes bleeding through a complex defence system. This consists of local changes in the damaged blood vessels, activation of blood cells called platelets, and the coagulation (clotting) process. Most inherited bleeding disorders are the result of abnormal platelet function or a deficiency in one or more of the factors involved in the blood clotting system. Hemophilia is the most common inherited coagulation factor deficiency. Hemophilia A is a result of a deficiency of factor VIII, and hemophilia B of factor IX. Hemophilia A is more common than hemophilia B, and varies in severity depending on the level of factor VIII activity. Hemophilia B is often a severe bleeding disorder.

DMS Dermatomyostitis is a skin disorder. It results in patchy hairloss (sometimes confused with mange), skin lesions, and muscle deterioration. It is also called “Sheltie Skin Syndrome” or “DMS” for short. Plenty of information is available on the internet about this disease. Check out this website: . This is not a death sentence and can be treated, but affected dogs do need special care. There is a newly available genetic test to determine if breeding stock are low/medium/high risk of DMS.

LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS There are several forms of lupus erythematosus that are recognized in people, two of which have been identified in dogs. Lupus is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the body mounts an inappropriate immune response to some part of itself. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an uncommon but severe disorder in which the inappropriate immune response is widespread in the body, and can cause arthritis, kidney disease, anemia, and skin disease. Cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) is thought to be a milder variant of SLE, and the problems are confined to the skin. CLE is also called discoid lupus erythematosus

EYE PROBLEMS Eye problems of many varieties are also in this breed. A specialist (ophthalmologist) veterinarian must perform this test. COLLIE EYE ANOMOLY PROGRESSIVE RETINAL ATROPHY CORNEAL DYSTROPHY DISTICHIASIS CATARACT. There was a former eye registry called CERF which has merged with OFA to conduct eye tests to certify eyes as normal.

FANCONI SYNDROME Normally in the kidney, there is selective reabsorption of water, sugars, minerals, and amino acids so that these substances are not lost excessively in the urine. In this disorder, there is a defect in the tubules of the kidney where this resorption occurs. Loss of these normally conserved substances leads to electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, and other problems.



MDR-1 Many herding breed dogs have a genetic predisposition to adverse drug reactions involving over a dozen different drugs. The most serious adverse drug reactions involve several antiparasitic agents (ivermectin, milbemycin and related drugs), the antidiarrheal agent loperamide (Imodium), and several anticancer drugs (vincristine, doxorubicin, others). These drug sensitivities result from a mutation in the multidrug resistance gene (MDR1 gene). At Washington State University's College of Veterinary Medicine you can test your dog for multidrug sensitivity and prevent serious adverse drug reactions. We can work with your dog’s veterinarian to find appropriate drug doses or alternative drugs for your dog based on results of MDR1 testing. NOTE: The tests are available for your puppy for a price of $70 if done individually (included in your puppy pack). If every pup from the litter is interested in being tested, the cost decreases to $60 per puppy, everyone will simply send me the swabs and money and I will send it in as a “Kennel” inquiry. Testing your puppy is recommended because the puppies will have inherited NORMAL from Kylee, but have a 50/50 chance of inheriting either NORMAL or MUTANT from Redford :( So your puppy may be NORMAL/NORMAL or NORMAL/MUTANT (a carrier). Carriers are not affected as severely as mutant/mutant, but we still recommend avoiding large doses of the drugs on the concern list. The small amount of ivermectin in heartworm prevention is likely safe for carrier dogs, but it is best to use another form of heartworm prevention if it is available until the test is done. HEART CONDITIONS: PATENT DUCTUS ARTERIOSUS, DEGENERATIVE VALVE DISEASE





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