Border Collie Health Issues

border collie health problems

You’ve decided on a dog to expand your family and the one you are choosing is the border collie. Excellent choice!

You probably have done some research on this dynamic breed and found that if you get a male you may name him Albert, after Albert Einstein, of course.

As you may already know, the border collie is one of the brightest and most intelligent breeds in the dog world.

In fact, they are able to learn new things in under ten seconds! It has been proven that they have an extremely high IQ as well.

How researchers were able to figure that out, as a border collie cannot read, write or hold a pen, is a mystery to me, but these dogs are whip-smart!

The border collie is very happy and content as an indoor dog cuddled in with its family. Plenty of exercises are needed, however, for this to occur and have a calm, content border collie as they are always on the move.

You may be wondering about the border collie’s overall health because they are so active and energetic.

The border collie is a relatively healthy breed, but just as with other dogs, they can suffer from health problems, conditions, and diseases.

In this post, I will give you some information on border collie health issues. I will answer the question, “Do border collies have health problems?” Also contained will be some common health problems in border collies.

Border Collie Health Issues
Image by Tricia Winwood from Pixabay

For your dog’s vitamin supplement, dog food, dog toys, or other dogs product please visit the Health Extension website

Do Border Collies Have Health Problems?

Border collies are an overall healthy breed with an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years. As with humans, every dog is an individual, so they may have a much longer or shorter life. The average is not set in stone.

With that being said, border collies are susceptible to a few health conditions. Some diseases are genetic in nature and can be side-stepped by using a breeder that participates in genetically testing their breeding dogs.

By checking your breeder’s records, which they should allow, you can see if any diseases are lurking in your future border collie’s bloodline.

Some health problems can be avoided by ensuring that your border collie has a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, and necessary veterinary care.

Veterinary care is essential, especially in preventing disease and illness. Catching problems early will help your border collie stay healthy and in tip-top shape.

To check your Border Collies’ health status or their DNA checks, please visit the Embark vet website for all the help you may need.

Do Border Collies Have Health Problems?

Common Health Problems of Border Collies

Listed below are some conditions and diseases common to Border collies.

Collies Eye Anomaly – (CEA)

CEA is a hereditary disease that affects blood vessels in the eye. A mutated chromosome is the cause and keeps the blood vessels from providing the retina with nourishment. Symptoms are sunken and small eyeballs, filmy, cloudy eyes, and vision changes that lead to unavoidable blindness.

This generally occurs in both eyes and is more common in smooth-coated and rough collies than in border collies.

Common Health Problems of Border Collies
Image by Patou Ricard from Pixabay

Progressive Retinal Atrophy – (PRA)

PRA is a condition of the eye that is degenerative and progresses slowly. It is usually noticed when your pup begins to bump into things at night and loses night vision, which for a dog is usually excellent.

This progresses to daytime vision loss and eventual blindness. This is a disease that can be seen in dogs as young as three.

Canine Epilepsy

Canine epilepsy is caused by abnormal neuroelectric activity and is a neurological disorder.

Seizures occur in epilepsy which presents as convulsions, shaking, and spasms and can progress to loss of consciousness and even death.

Unfortunately, border collies are predisposed to seizures and if they are hereditary in nature, they can begin from six months to five years.

Hereditary seizures are known as idiopathic epilepsy, These are the most common in border collies and they usually have no known cause.

Seizures may appear different each time and have differing durations. Epilepsy does not shorten your border collie’s life.

They can go on to live a normal life. Medication, such as phenobarbital is often used for treatment and to prevent seizures.

Knowing what to do in the event of a seizure would be helpful to keep your pup safe and comfortable.

Osteochondritis Dissecans

This condition is found more often in male border collies. Bones develop too rapidly and the cartilage in the joints becomes inflamed.

Osteochondritis dissecans most often occurs in the shoulder and symptoms are swollen joints, walking problems, and pain.

There is no known positive cause of osteochondritis dissecans but suspected causes are insufficient nutrition, accelerated growth, hormonal imbalance, trauma, or genetics. It leads to eventual osteoarthritis and possible lameness.

Diagnosing OD early is very important for early treatment. Treatments can be bed rest and diagnosis, which may be quite a challenge with a border collie!

Other treatments are anti-inflammatories, supplements, and weight management. When cases are severe, surgery is an option, and depending on how successful the surgery is, dogs can be 100% better, with OD rarely returning.


This disease can occur in border collies between four and ten years of age. Hypothyroidism is diagnosed when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone to support metabolism and can be seen in blood tests.

Symptoms are lethargy, weight gain, ongoing skin issues, loss of fur, and a dull, dry coat. This can be treated by replacing the hormone with a daily pill of levothyroxine in just the right dose for your pup, thus returning them to pre-hypothyroidism health. Frequent bloodwork will be required to monitor thyroid levels.

Hip and/or Elbow Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is found more often in large-boned breeds of dogs, although both hip and elbow dysplasia can sometimes occur in border collies.

These two are generally genetic in nature and dogs found to have either or carry genes should not be used for breeding.

They are caused by a deformity of a ball joint that does not fit into a socket properly causing grinding, grating, pain, and lameness.

Causes of the elbow and hip dysplasia are either genetic, can occur from too rapid growth in puppies or with injury to joints while your border collie is still a pup.

Dogs may limp, be visibly in pain, display difficulty getting up from a seated position or sitting, be reluctant to climb stairs, and show no excitement for any exercise or play.

Treatments can be physical therapy with hydrotherapy, anti-inflammatory meds, supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin, and in severe cases, surgery.

Patent Ductus Anteriosus

Patent ductus anterior is a heart disorder and congenital in nature. This can be very severe and even life-threatening.

Your pup may show no signs of this heart defect or symptoms can be intolerance to exercise, abnormal pulse, a heart murmur, and their growth may be stunted. This is more common in female dogs.

If patent ductus anterior is suspected, your veterinarian may refer you to a veterinary cardiovascular surgeon who may suggest surgery. Early diagnosis is imperative for a positive outcome.

Health Problems Common to All Breeds

  • Infections – Vaccines prevent certain infections such as parvo-virus and rabies. Infections can also occur from diseases and germ-carrying parasites.
  • Obesity – Just as in humans, obesity can cause many health conditions and diseases and can even lead to death. Feed your border collie a healthy diet, don’t overfeed, and make sure they get plenty of exercise every day, which is great for your pups and your overall health.
  • Dental conditions – Your border collie needs to have its teeth brushed by you and checked by its veterinarian routinely, just as humans need to practice good dental hygiene and visit their dentist. Don’t overlook this very important aspect of hygiene and grooming. Poor dental hygiene can lead to cavities, and gum disease and can eventually affect the heart, liver, kidneys, and joints, spreading bacteria throughout the body.

Border collies are a generally healthy breed, yet it is best to be aware of medical conditions and symptoms they may be predisposed to and that can crop up.

Keep an eye out for any signs of health problems so they can be diagnosed and treated promptly.

A trip to the veterinarian may put a dent in your wallet, but better to be safe than sorry when dealing with your border collie’s health.

This will ensure that your border collie has the healthiest and most quality-filled life it can.