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Old English Sheepdog Health Care & Feeding

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

Old English Sheepdog

Start your Old English Sheepdog 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
Old English Sheepdog Health Problems

Or check out my advice for raising a healthy Old English Sheepdog 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 Old English Sheepdog lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet... [read more]

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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 Old English Sheepdog are... [read more]

Real homemade dog food A Quick Way To Make Homemade Dog Food
Your Sheepie 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 Old English Sheepdog 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 Sheepdog 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 Sheepdog? 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 Old English Sheepdog 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]

Old English Sheepdog

Complete list of Old English Sheepdog health problems

Hip dysplasia is the most serious orthopedic disease in the Old English Sheepdog.

The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of over 11,300 Old English Sheepdogs and found 19% dysplastic, which is bad. Elbow dysplasia also occurs in Old English Sheepdogs (3% rate), and occasionally Wobbler's syndrome, which is a disease of the neck vertebrae.

The most serious eye diseases in the Old English Sheepdog are:

  • cataracts, appearing at any time from birth to 6 years old and often leading to blindness.
  • progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which always leads to blindness.

Also reported are eyelid malformations (entropion) and retinal dysplasia.

Allergies cause itchy skin and can lead to bacterial skin infections (pyoderma). A more serious skin disease, sebaceous adenitis, can occur in Old English Sheepdogs. Ear infections are common due to the profuse hair in the ear canals.

According to the Michigan State University Thyroid Database, Old English Sheepdogs have the 3rd highest rate of hypothyroidism of 140 breeds (up to 28% affected).

Heart disease and autoimmune hemolytic anemia are growing concerns. A serious neurological disease called cerebellar ataxia can occur in the OES at 2-4 years old.

As with all deep-chested breeds, Old English Sheepdogs are at higher-than-normal risk for the emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat.

Old English Sheepdog pups can be born partially or completely deaf.

Chronic diarrhea can be caused by colitis (intestinal malabsorption).Blood-clotting diseases include hemophilia B, von Willebrand's, and thrombocytopenia.

Exercise-induced collapse is an odd disease in which young Sheepies who have been vigorously exercising suddenly begin swaying, collapse, and require a rest before they can move again.

Other health issues in Old English Sheepdogs include liver shunt, diabetes, and degenerative spinal myelopathy.

Old English Sheepdogs 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 Old English Sheepdog unless he has been tested for this mutant gene. It's a simple DNA test offered by the Washington State University Veterinary School.

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 Old English Sheepdog 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.