Most common health problems in Rough and Smooth Collies, plus health care and feeding.


My Complete Health Care Program for your Collie

If you want to AVOID health problems in your Collie, you'll find my health care program very valuable.

It's called "11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy."

Raise your dog the RIGHT way, feed him the RIGHT food, give him the RIGHT vaccinations, avoid unnecessary veterinary expenses, and help him live a longer, happier, and more comfortable life.

If your Collie already HAS a health problem, I'm sorry to hear that. You should immediately begin my health care program, and you may be able to restore his good health – or at least make him much more comfortable. Let me help!

My best-selling dog health book


Collie dog breed

Rough and Smooth Collie Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2017


Quick list of Collie health problems

Most worrisome are hereditary eye diseases that can cause blindness.

Lots of skin diseases in Collies, from itchy allergies to autoimmune diseases that attack the skin.

Collies are one of the most likely dog breeds to develop an emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat, which can kill a dog within hours.

Epilepsy and heart disease are increasing concerns in Collies.

All Rough and Smooth Collies should have a simple DNA test to determine whether they have inherited a gene mutation known as MDR1. If a dog has this gene, certain medications can be deadly to him.

(See more health problems below.)


Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if both parents of your Collie have certificates proving they were tested and cleared of hereditary eye diseases, your Collie has less risk of developing those conditions.

Other health problems can be prevented, or partially prevented, by the ways you raise your dog. If you're serious about doing everything you can for your Collie, my best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to raise your Smooth or Rough Collie puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways. It will help you be your dog's health care champion!


Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Collie puppy or adult dog:

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Collie lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Pet insurance Should You Buy Pet Insurance? An Honest Review
My advice on the pros and cons of pet insurance, and the best pet insurance company I've found.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Rough and Smooth Collies
Food is the #1 foundation for good health. The best diet for feeding your dog is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, fish....these are not just "people foods" and I'll tell you why.


Natural dog foods for your Collie. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Collie
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your Collie. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Collie puppy really need? Does your adult Collie need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you.


Information on spaying your Collie. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female dog.


Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.


Information on choosing the best vet for your Collie. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.


Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review: How I Helped Treat Inflammation and Pain
Does your dog suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis, a skin wound? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to help reduce inflammation and pain.


Complete list of Collie health problems

Eye diseases are high on the list of health problems in Collies:

  • Collie eye anomaly, in particular, is so entrenched in this breed that up to 95% have or carry CEA. Fortunately, this disease in and of itself usually doesn't affect vision – but sometimes it leads to more serious eye diseases such as coloboma or retinal detachment.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) can appear in Collies as young as 6 months old and progress to total blindness by 1-2 years of age.
  • Cataracts can occur at birth, or at 3-5 years old.
  • Other eye diseases in Rough and Smooth Collies include corneal dystrophy and persistent pupillary membranes.

Skin diseases are high on the list of Collie health problems – allergies, bacterial skin infections (pyoderma), demodectic mange, and nasal solar dermatitis.

Other skin conditions in Rough and Smooth Collies stem from autoimmune diseases, where the immune system is defective and attacks its own skin. Autoimmune diseases that attack the skin include pemphigus and lupus. Also dermatomyositis, in which the skin (derma) and muscle (myo) become inflamed (itis). This rare disease affects Sheltie and Collie puppies at 3-6 months old. Crusty skin lesions come and go, and the puppy grows slowly, with spindly legs and muscle wasting. Mildly affected dogs may outgrow the condition, though some will have permanent scars. In severely affected dogs, the disease is progressive, and if severe muscle atrophy makes it impossible for them to chew or swallow, they will have to be put to sleep. Skin lesions become worse when exposed to ultraviolet light, so keep affected dogs indoors as much as possible.

As with all deep-chested breeds, Scottish Collies are at higher-than-normal risk for the emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat. The Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine reports that the Collie is among the top ten of all breeds likely to develop bloat.

Two serious diseases that are becoming more common in Rough and Smooth Collies are epilepsy and heart disease (patent ductus arteriosus).

Hypothyroidism occurs in the breed, as well, at a rate of about 15%.

Inherited deafness can occur in Collie puppies.

Fortunately, orthopedic diseases are not very common in Collies. Hip dysplasia does occur, but the Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of 3100 Rough and Smooth Collies and found less than 3% dysplastic, which is good. Elbow dysplasia is less than 2%. Osteochondritis and hypertrophic osteodystrophy are other orthopedic diseases occasionally reported in Collies.

On some older Collies, you might see what looks like a growth on their gums, covering some of their teeth. This is fibrous gum tissue and the condition is called gingival hyperplasia. If the enlarged gums interfere with chewing or become damaged from chewing, the excess tissue may need to be surgically removed.

Other health issues in Scottish Collies include colitis, pancreatic insufficiency, cerebellar ataxia, and blood-clotting diseases (von Willebrand's and hemophilia A).

Collies (and other collie-type breeds) often react adversely to certain drugs such as ivermectin (in heartworm prevention products such as Heartguard), Imodium A-D, flagyl, and certain anesthetics. If your dog has a mutant gene called mdr1, he cannot pump these drugs out of his brain, which results in neurological toxicity. Don't give any of these drugs to your Collie unless he has been tested for this mutant gene. It's a simple DNA test offered by the Washington State University Veterinary School. Testing has shown that 55% to 75% of Rough and Smooth Collies HAVE this defective gene.


To help you train and care for your dog

book cover To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.

book cover My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.