Old English Sheepdog Health Care & Feeding
By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018
Quick list of Old English Sheepdog health problems
Hip dysplasia, which causes pain and lameness, occurs at a rate of about 19% dysplastic. That's very high.
Eye diseases such as hereditary cataracts often lead to blindness. Thyroid disease is common and can require lifelong medication.
Chronic allergies cause itchy skin and scratching, which can result in bacterial infections (hot spots). Ear infections are common due to the profuse hair in the ear canals.
Old English Sheepdogs are at higher-than-average risk for an emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat.
Growing concerns in the breed include autoimmune hemolytic anemia, and heart disease. A serious neurological disease called cerebellar ataxia can occur at 2-4 years old.
Old English Sheepdogs can be born deaf, or partially deaf.
All Old English Sheepdogs 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 Old English Sheepdog have certificates proving they were tested and cleared of hip dysplasia, hereditary eye diseases, and thyroid disease, your Old English Sheepdog 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 Old English Sheepdog, my best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to raise your Old English Sheepdog 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 Old English Sheepdog puppy or adult dog:
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.
The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Old English Sheepdog
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.
Kibble or Canned Dog Food – Almost As Good As Homemade?
Are you looking for the best dry kibble or canned dog food?
Feed Homemade Dog Food Without Needing To Make It
Would you like to feed your dog homemade, but think you don't have the time or skill to make it? I have the solution for you....
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.
Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Old English Sheepdog puppy really need? Does your adult Old English Sheepdog need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you.
Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female dog.
Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.
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 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 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 very bad. Elbow dysplasia also occurs in Old English Sheepdogs (3% rate), and occasionally Wobbler's syndrome.
The most serious eye diseases in the Old English Sheepdog are cataracts (appearing any time from birth to 6 years old and often leading to blindness), and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Also reported are 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 puppies with a lot of white on their head are susceptible to inherited deafness.
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 Old English Sheepdogs 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.
To help you train and care for your dog
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.
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.
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.