Border Collies are generally healthy dogs and usual yearly health care includes visit to veterinarian for vaccination and systematic exam. Every couple of months, deworming is needed as with other dog breeds and seasonally protection from external parasites is required as well. Border Collies are subject to some genetic diseases. For some of them genetic test exists. Below is the brief list of most common health problems.
Collie Eye Anomaly
Collie eye anomaly (CEA, Choroidal Hypoplasia-CH) is a hereditary eye disease in dogs, characterized by different level of impairment of the retina and choroid sclera that occurs during development of the eye. The inheritable disease is not progressive and the state after eye development remains stable. For this disease no drugs exist and it cannot be treated. The main symptom in affected dogs is hypoplasia (under development) of choroid, which is an important layer of the eye under the retina. In dogs with more extensive CEA disease the hypoplasia of retina or coloboma development may occur. The extent of this disease is different in each dog. Known symptoms range from mild to very severe that can lead to blindness.
CEA is known hereditary disease and is due to an autosomal recessive gene. There is currently no treatment for this disease.
Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis
Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCLs) are a group of heritable diseases as a recessive genetic defect.
Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis is a type of lysosomal storage disorder that results in accumulation of lysosomal storage bodies in the cells of many tissues of the affected animal. This leads to progressive neurodegeneration (degeneration of brain and eye cells) and results in severe neurological impairment and early death. Affected dogs appear normal at birth, but begin to exhibit symptoms early in life – around 1- 2 years of age. The age of onset and severity of the disease can vary greatly among individuals. The symptoms include progressive motor decline with seizures and loss of coordinated muscle movements, cognitive decline and abnormal behavior (possibility of outbursts of aggression, hallucinations, hyperactivity and seizures). Visual impairment may occur. Due to the severity of the disease, affected Border Collies rarely survive beyond 26-28 months. There is no treatment or cure at this time.
Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome
Trapped neutrophil syndrome (TNS) is an autosomal recessive inherited neutropenia in the Border Collie breed. The disease, originally detected in Border Collies in Australia and New Zealand in the 1990's, is characterized by a marked reduction in numbers of neutrophils in peripheral blood and a hyperplasia of myeloid cells in bone marrow. Due to the severe neutropenia, affected dogs are consistently subject to life-threatening infections, resulting in premature death. Symptoms are variable, many of the reported TNS puppies have been born looking normal but others have been born small. Some puppies with TNS have been small and fine boned with narrow heads at some point but this may not be evident until approximate 16 weeks. A common first sign is a bad reaction to vaccinations with signs of fever. Any puppy that shows any signs of infection or failure to thrive is a possible case of TNS. There is no cure for TNS and it appears to always be fatal eventually.
Multi Drug resistance (MDR1)
Multidrug resistance is disease represented as hypersensitivity for the certain antiparasitic and several other drugs that predisposes animals to a potentially fatal neurotoxicosis. Disease is caused by degeneration of P-glycoprotein, a protein normally expressed on brain capillary endothelial cells that functions as part of the blood-brain barrier to pump drugs out of the CNS. That way the blood-brain barrier limits the passage of drugs into the NS. Dogs with the gene deletion have increased brain concentrations of drugs including ivermectin, moxidectin, loperamide, and corticosteroids.
Dogs homozygous for the mutation do not express a functional P-glycoprotein and show increased sensitivity to many drugs. Regarding some of these drugs, brain penetration is highly increased, and the dogs develop severe neurotoxicosis, even when the drugs are administered at a normal therapeutic dosage, as in the case of ivermectin and doramectin. Genetic testing allows us to detect the mutation, but it is suggested that demonstration of only one mutation in the canine MDR1 gene cannot completely ensure security from adverse effects of the substrate drugs of P- glycoprotein.
Genetic DNA testing is available.
Hip dysplasia (HD) develops due to a combination of genetically inherited traits and external environmental factors. Hip dysplasia means that the hip joints don't develop properly, leading to a degree of malformation that varies from dog to dog. It generally begins to develop while the dog is still young, and leads to a gradual deterioration of the joins and associated loss of full functionality.
Elbow dysplasia (ED) is similar to HD but affects elbows.
Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD) is a pathological condition that occurs in border collies (as well as several other breeds). During normal bone growth cartilage is replaced by bone (a process called endochondral ossification). In dogs with OCD, the process of cartilage being replaced by bone does not occur normally resulting in excessive cartilage growth in the joint. The thickened cartilage can then break loose causing a flap (see pictures below). OCD most commonly occurs in the shoulders, but can also be found in the stifle, elbow and hock. It occurs more commonly in males than females. Typical age of onset is 4 months to one year.
More info about OCD you can find here.
More info about epilepsy you can find here.