Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Sensible advice for raising your Rough and Smooth Collie puppy so he lives a long healthy life and seldom needs to visit the vet. Learn about the most common health problems and issues in Scottish Collies, the best dog food diet for feeding Rough and Smooth Collie puppies and adult dogs, the truth about vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and natural health care.


11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, my best-selling dog health book

Scottish Collie dog breed

Rough and Smooth Collie Health Problems and Raising a Collie Puppy to be Healthy

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2013

Quiz – How Long Will Your Dog Live?
How To Raise a Healthy Dog
Feeding the Best Dog Food
Feeding the 2nd Best Dog Food
Vaccinations: Needed or Not?
Are You Sure Your Vet Is Good?

The most common health problems in Rough and Smooth Scottish Collies:

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. According to the Michigan State University Thyroid Database, up to 9% of Collies have low thyroid levels.

Inherited deafness can occur in Collie puppies with a lot of white on their head.

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 2375 Rough and Smooth Collies and found less than 3% dysplastic, which is excellent. 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.


Can you prevent health problems from happening to YOUR Rough and Smooth Collie?

Yes, often you can.

  1. Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in Scottish Collies today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find a Rough and Smooth Collie puppy who is genetically healthy.
  2. Other health problems are environmental – caused by the way you raise your dog. My best-selling dog health book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to prevent environmental health problems by raising your Rough and Smooth Collie puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.

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

Dog lifespan quiz How Long Will Your Dog Live? – Take This Quiz!
Based on your dog's breed and how you're raising him, this personalized quiz will help you understand how long your dog might live – and most importantly, how you can increase his life expectancy.


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.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Collie
The best diet for feeding your Rough or Smooth Collie is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, bison, venison, fish....This is not "people food" and I'll tell you why.


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


Information on choosing the best vet for your Rough and Smooth 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.


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


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