yourpurebredpuppy logo

Smooth & Rough Collie Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Breed Selection Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Smooth & Rough Collie

Start your Collie off on the right foot by feeding the right food, giving the right vaccinations, finding the right vet, and if you're going to spay or neuter, don't do it too early.

Jump down to this list of
Collie Health Problems

Or check out my advice for raising a healthy Smooth or Rough 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... [read more]

numeral 33 Best Ways To Feed Your Dog Healthy Food
You can dramatically increase your dog's chances of living a long, healthy life by feeding the right food. Cutting right to the chase, the best foods for your Collie are... [read more]

Real homemade dog food A Quick Way To Make Homemade Dog Food
Your Collie will love real chicken, turkey, beef, fish, eggs, yogurt, broccoli.... this is not just "people food" and I'll tell you why... [read more]

Dry kibble and canned dog food 5 Best Kibble and Canned Dog Foods
Some are better than others, but I must be honest – I'm not a huge fan of dry or canned dog food. Here are my concerns... [read more]

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

Information on spaying Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Should your female Collie be spayed? Current research says, "The AGE at which you spay can be vitally important to your dog's future health." So what's the best age? [read more]

Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Have you been told that you must neuter your male Collie? Current research shows that the issue is not so simple. Pet owners are not being told about some risks associated with neutering male dogs, especially neutering too early... [read more]

Information on choosing the best vet Make Sure Your Vet is the Best!
Is your current veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Here's how to tell... [read more]

Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review
Does your Collie suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to reduce inflammation and pain. [read more]

Smooth & Rough Collie

Complete list of Smooth & Rough 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 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 always progresses to total blindness by 1-2 years old.
  • 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.

Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if your dog inherits from his parents the genes for an eye disease called PRA, he will go blind and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Dog feeding and health book by Michele Welton But most health problems can be prevented by the ways you raise your dog.

FREE eBOOK! My free online health care program, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to raise your Smooth & Rough Collie in all the right ways that help prevent health problems. Become your dog's health care champion!

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

My best-selling books – now available  FREE  on my website

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy is for puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know. Click here to read for free.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say. Click here to read for free.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life. Get my honest advice about all 11 Things before you bring home your new puppy, because some mistakes with early health care cannot be undone. Click here to read for free.