Overall the Australian Shepherd is a healthy breed. Like all breeds however there are certain medical issues that crop up more frequently with Australian Shepherds. While many of these are hereditary and can be minimized through proper breeding practices and buying your Aussie from a qualified breeder, others with pathogenic or nutritional causes can be helped with awareness and advice from your veterinarian.
Collie Eye Anomaly
Persistent Pupillary Membranes
Patent Ductus Arteriosus
Homozygous Merle (Lethal White)
Double Merle Aussies
Diabetes in Dogs
Epilepsy in Dogs
Australian Shepherds can have drug sensitivities as they frequently have a mutation of the MDR1 (Multi Drug Resistance 1) gene. This commonly causes toxicity from ivermectin an ingredient found in heartworm medications. It is always advisable to consult with your veterinarian before giving your Aussie any medications. Even over-the-counter medications can be toxic due to this increased sensitivity.
You will want to keep items on hand to maintain your dogs health to prevent problems from developing. For example there are excellent products available to maintain healthy coat and skin, gums and teeth, ears, eyes, urinary tract and anal glands to name a few. For a more complete list visit PetAlive.com. They have a wide range of 100% natural products to help keep your Aussie healthy.
You are what you eat and so is your Aussie. Dogs can suffer from the same problems that arise from poor nutrition as we do. Cardiovascular and nervous system degeneration, obesity and diabetes affect dogs too. To ensure proper nutrition you should provide high quality supplements.
Research the food you are giving your Aussie. They are high energy dogs and need high quality food to ensure excellent condition.
The best thing you can do to ensure the well-being of your dog is to buy a healthy dog. That sounds ridiculously simple but is too often overlooked when the decision is made about where to get an Aussie. The goal of good breeders is to improve and maintain the quality and health of the breed and eliminate hereditary diseases inherent to Australian Shepherds.
Revel truly has the biggest smile when you get her picture on a sunny day. She spends her fun time doing hikes, agility, and sneaking on to the couch and bed when nobody is paying attention!
Don't overlook this vital first step. It may cost a bit more to get a healthy dog from a breeder but weighed against the lifelong vet bills and poorer quality of life for your pet it is just not worth it in the long run.
Preventing problems is always the best way to deal with diseases. Make sure you visit with your vet and have all vaccinations up to date. Don't risk unnecessary suffering and costs that can arise by neglecting to take the threat of viruses, bacteria, worms and parasites seriously. Again, taking your vets advise about preventative measures to avoid these problems will likely save you lots of money, and your Aussie plenty of misery, in the long run.
All the preventative measures in the world are sometimes not enough. Accidents happen and you will save yourself a lot of stress by being prepared. Pet health insurance for your Aussie can really be a life-saver (and wallet-saver) when unexpected vet bills come in.
Have a basic first aid kit handy. If you don't already have one I recommend getting one as soon as possible. Taking a first aid course and having a kit is just a good idea anyway.
Do you know the phone number to your vet or emergency veterinary clinic? Do you know the route to get there quickly? A good idea is to have these numbers posted in a handy location like the inside of a cupboad door or on the fridge so you know exactly where they are and don't have to search for them when you are faced with an emergency.
With prevention, knowledge and preparedness you should be able to completely aviod or effectively deal with any health issues that arise with your Australian Shepherd. There are also many 100% natural and safe herbal remedies for pets that can help prevent and address health many common problems.
I wish you and your Aussie a long life of health and happiness.
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We were frantically blowing and picking up leaves in preparation for Thanksgiving. Our red-tri Remus was just enjoying the crisp Autumn day! He loves to play in the leaves and stare at the squirrels as they jump from tree branch to tree branch.
Photo: Laura Moran