How Healthy Are Border Collies (and What Is Their Life Expectancy)?

Border Collies are generally a healthy breed so they tend to live long and happy lives. But like other dog breeds, they suffer from health issues that shorten their lives.
How Healthy Are Border Collies

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It is a sad thought that your furry friend cannot be with you forever. They are part of your family after all and you want to do what you can to have them with you longer.

You can take simple preventative steps to prevent them from developing health issues. But with inherited diseases, there is not much you can do.

What you can do though is to give them immediate care. This will help in preventing the issue from becoming severe.

In this article, you will find out the many ways you can do this. Other than that, you can also use this as a guide in figuring out what is wrong with your Border Collie.

What Do Border Collies Suffer From?

Border Collies can suffer from a few issues, ranging from minor ones to major ones. This includes dental issues, eye issues, musculoskeletal disorders, and more.

Although this breed is generally healthy and sturdy, they are not immune to getting sick.

If your Border Collie has health problems, their quality of life can drop. These can hinder them from working, playing, or running around to their heart’s content.

Prevention is always better than cure and this starts with knowledge. By knowing what your Border Collie can suffer from, you can take the preventative steps you need.

With this, here are the common health issues that Border Collies suffer from.

Dental Disease

Dental issues affect a huge chunk of the canine population. Unfortunately, Border Collies are more likely to have this problem. This is because they have a long and narrow nose, so they are likely to have misaligned teeth. With this, it is harder to clean their gums and teeth and you may often miss some hard-to-reach spots.

If you miss these spots, plaque and tartar can build up. This can eventually lead to gingivitis and periodontitis.

Border Collies who suffer from these often have bad breath and pain in their gums. They may even lose their teeth and in severe cases, this will affect their heart, liver, and kidneys.

Obesity

As surprising as it may be, Border Collies have a predisposition to obesity. You may not hear about an obese Border Collie often because this breed loves to stay active.

But if they have injuries or surgeries that need long cage rest, you will see them gain weight fast. Excess weight can be hard on their joints and back, leading to musculoskeletal issues. By keeping your furry friend at a healthy weight, you can avoid a host of health problems down the road.

Canine Epilepsy

The most common form of epilepsy in Border Collies is idiopathic epilepsy. This is a hereditary disease due to unusual neuroelectric activity. Border Collies who suffer from this exhibit the following:

  • Spams
  • Twitching
  • Convulsions
  • Loss of Consciousness

Hypothyroidism

This is a disorder wherein your Border Collie’s production of hormones is abnormal. Some symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Lethargy
  • Hair Loss
  • Weight Gain

Since this is another hereditary disorder, your Border Collie needs to undergo tests. If they have this, they need medications to balance their hormone levels.

Eye Issues

This herding breed heavily relies on its sight to carry out tasks. Sad to say, developing eye problems is all too common for Border Collies. Two eye disorders that affect a high percentage of Border Collies include:

  • Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA)
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Collie Eye Anomaly

To highlight the gravity of CEA in this breed, as you can see, this disorder is actually named after them. CEA occurs when a puppy’s eyes do not grow properly. You can only test your furry friend for this after a few months, at 3 to 6 months of age.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Border Collies who suffer from this have partial or complete blindness. This occurs when the nerve cells in their eyes responsible for sight control die off. When this happens, their eyes become cloudy, hindering their sight.

PRA also occurs later in your Border Collie’s life, at around 4 to 8 years old. Changes in their eyesight are gradual and while this is unfortunate, this gives them time to get used to it. There are no treatments for this disorder as of now, so your Border Collie can use assistive devices if you want.

Musculoskeletal Issues

Joint problems are often seen as an age-related issue. While this is true, Border Collies of any age can develop this. Especially when they push their bodies to the limit.

Two of these that are common in this breed are the following:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)
Hip Dysplasia

This is another genetic condition wherein their hip joints become loose or unstable. While genetics is a big factor in this, excess weight and rapid growth can also cause this.

Symptoms of hip dysplasia include the following:

  • Pain
  • Unusual Gait
  • Stiffness

In time, this condition can lead to arthritis and muscle atrophy. Pain medications and physical therapy can help in managing hip dysplasia. But in severe cases, your Border Collie may need surgery.

Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)

OCD occurs when the cartilage in their joints wears down. This is worrying since their cartilage makes their joints stable, preventing any pain. So if your Border Collie has this, they will feel extreme discomfort in their joints.

This occurs when there are cracks in their cartilage and bones due to rapid growth as puppies. Oftentimes, they will need arthroscopy or surgery to treat this.

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)

This is otherwise known as bloat. Border Collies are prone to this because they have narrow waists and deep chests. GDV occurs when the stomach has too much gas or food and then twists.

This twisting can cut off the blood flow in vital organs. So this is a potentially life-threatening condition if left untreated.

GDV can occur without warning, so take them to the vet right away as this is a medical emergency.

Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome (TNS)

This occurs when your Border Collie’s white blood cells get trapped in the bone marrow. If your Border Collie has this, they are more prone to getting infections. As a result, this can shorten your furry friend’s life.

Unfortunately, there is no treatment for TNS right now. So Border Collies who suffer from this may need frequent medication.

Separation Anxiety

Border Collies are pack animals and they want to be close to their family all the time. When they develop this disorder, they become extra anxious whenever they are not with you.

They can develop this when you are away from home too much. It can also occur when they do not have a daily routine, making their home environment unstable. So lack of mental and physical exercise can also cause separation anxiety.

Are Border Collies Prone to Seizures?

Border Collies are prone to seizures due to their genetic makeup. If their seizures are recurrent, they may have a condition called epilepsy. And in this breed, they often get it from their parents.

There are three types of epilepsy: reactive, secondary, and primary. In the first two, there is an underlying cause that your vet can pinpoint. But in primary epilepsy, there is no cause to explain their condition. And unfortunately, primary epilepsy is the most common form seen in Border Collies.

Recurring seizures are a scary thing, it can hurt you to see your Border Collie suffering from this. Given its high incidence in the breed, it may help you to differentiate the three types.

Reactive epilepsy occurs when your Border Collie’s brain reacts to metabolic issues. This includes toxins, low blood sugar, and more.

In secondary epilepsy, the seizures are a symptom of other health issues. This can be a stroke, trauma, or a brain tumor. So if you treat the main health issue, the seizures may go away.

Primary epilepsy, also called idiopathic epilepsy, has no known cause. With this, you will need to help your furry friend with lifelong treatment.

What Causes Seizures in Border Collies?

Seizures can be a result of metabolic issues, like unusual blood sugar levels. But it can also be a symptom of a bigger medical problem, like encephalitis. There are a lot of other possible causes behind this condition:

  • Liver Disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • Brain Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Electrolyte Issues
  • Anemia
  • Ingesting Poisonous Substances
  • Head Injuries

Depending on the cause, the seizures can be a onetime occurrence or can recur. But if you treat the cause, the seizure will go away if there is no permanent damage. And you can avoid this by taking action right away.

If their seizures keep occurring repeatedly, your Border Collie has epilepsy. Most of the time, epilepsy in this breed has no underlying cause. Lifetime management is a must in this case.

What Does a Seizure Look Like in Border Collies?

Your Border Collie will look dazed, confused, and stare into nowhere before a seizure. If you see these, you have to get yourself ready as these are the initial signs of a seizure attack. Other signs to watch out for include the following:

  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Nervousness
  • Vocalizations
  • Avoiding Interaction

These symptoms can last between seconds to a few hours before a full-blown seizure.

Once it does, your Border Collie will collapse and fall to its side as they lose consciousness. Their body will stiffen and twitch and jerk uncontrollably. During the attack, they may stop breathing for up to 30 seconds.

You may also notice excess drooling or foaming from their mouth. They may chew on their tongue or attempt to bite the air.

Other symptoms can also include these:

  • Distressed Barking
  • Momentary Blindness
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Paddling Their Limbs
  • Urinating
  • Defecating

It is hard to watch your poor Border Collie in this state and you may feel helpless waiting for the seizures to stop. But you can still help them while their seizures are ongoing.

Clear their immediate surroundings so they have adequate space. Cushion their head with a pillow to keep them comfortable.

Then you can comfort them by holding them and talking to them in a gentle voice. Be careful when holding them though, they may nip you out of nowhere and they cannot control this.

Their seizure can be a medical emergency if it lasts more than 5 minutes. Or, when they have 3 or more consecutive seizures without breaks between them. If any of these happen, take your Border Collie to the vet immediately.

After the seizure, your Border Collie may still lie down on their side for a while. They may get up and go back to their usual selves. But most of the time, they still need some time to recover.

The recovery phase includes the following symptoms:

  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Temporary Blindness
  • Wandering About
  • Increased Thirst or Hunger

They may take a day or two to fully recover, so do not expect them to bounce back right away.

How to Stop a Border Collie Seizure

In most cases, it is impossible to stop seizures and medications are only to help control them. There is no magic cure, but your vet can work with you to manage them.

If your vet prescribes your Border Collie medication, follow their instructions. Never miss any doses or change the medication without their recommendation.

Again, this will depend on the reason behind the seizures and how it manifests in your Border Collie. Seizures are tricky to treat, but they can still live a long, happy life.

If you are looking for ways to stop seizures while it is happening, you cannot do this. You will have to wait for it to stop, so the best thing you can do is to be there for your Border Collie.

Is It Common for Border Collies to Get Cancer?

Border Collies are not a breed that is often associated with cancer. But when speaking generally, around half of the dogs over 10 years of age will get cancer. And about 1 in every 4 dogs will develop one at some point in their lives.

Although your Border Collie is not prone to cancer, they can still develop one. Experts suggest that since they live long lives, they are more prone to cancer in their advanced age.

But with early detection, your Border Collie has a good chance of being free from most cancers. Treatments include surgical removal and even chemotherapy for some types of cancer.

Being proactive with your Border Collie’s health is crucial, especially with cancer. This is because the leading cause of death in this breed is due to cancer.

What Causes Border Collie Cancer?

Cancer in Border Collies occurs due to genetics, age, environmental factors, and more. You can find the causes everywhere, even in your household. While there is not much you can do if they get the dreaded diagnosis, you can take steps to lessen the risks.

And to do this, you have to know what factors can cause mutation in their genes, leading to cancer. Below, you will find more detailed discussions on these factors.

Genetics and Bloodline

Some dog breeds are genetically predisposed to certain cancers more than others. More so if their family tree has a history of cancer. If your Border Collie’s family has a history of cancer, they are more likely to get it from their parents.

Age

Cancer is often viewed as an age-related health issue. Researchers may not know why this is, but a possible reason is that older dogs have a weaker immune system. With this, their body may have more mistakes during cell division.

Otherwise healthy cells become malignant due to incorrect division or improper correction. Both of these can lead to mutations and may eventually develop into cancer.

Their weaker immune system is an even bigger issue in the face of other causes of cancer. The older your Border Collie is, the longer they get exposed to environmental carcinogens. So there is an even higher risk of them developing various types of cancer.

Environmental Factors

Like humans, your furry friend can also get cancer from carcinogen exposure. These can either be man-made or from nature itself, like the sun. If they stay under the sun too much, the UV rays can cause these genetic mutations.

If you are a smoker, your Border Collie can also suffer from the effects of secondhand smoking. This is something you should put more thought into the next time you smoke beside them.

If you live on a farm, some chemicals you use are also carcinogens. This includes insecticides, pesticides, and herbicides.

If you live in the city, air pollution, smog, and fumes coming from automobiles are carcinogens.

Common substances like the following are also carcinogens:

  • Benzene
  • Vinyl Chloride
  • Asbestos
  • Nickel
  • Uranium

So it seems like you cannot get away from carcinogens everywhere you go. The best thing you can do then is to make sure they get their nutritional needs and keep them at a healthy weight.

Other Factors

Certain viruses can also cause your Border Collie to develop cancer. An example is an oral papilloma, which is warts that form in the mouth of canines caused by a virus.

It is also possible for some cancers to be sexually transmitted. An example is canine transmissible venereal tumor, which they can get with sexual intercourse.

How Do You Know If Your Border Collie Has Cancer?

There are some early warning signs of cancer that are hard to miss. So you can tell if your Border Collie has cancer by examining them. Here is what you have to watch out for:

  • Signs of Pain: This includes crying, limping, aggression, and more.
  • Foul Body Odor: This can come from various parts of the body, depending on where cancer originates. They may have a smelly mouth, nose, and more.
  • Skin Changes: Watch out for any bumps, swelling, or lumps on their skin.
  • Sluggishness: Border Collies who have cancer may appear depressed. They sleep more and may not have an interest in playing.
  • Body Discharge: This includes pus and blood. Your Border Collie may also vomit or have diarrhea.
  • Weight Loss: Any change in weight that seems to happen overnight is worrying.
  • Reduced Appetite: This can explain their weight loss. But it can also be due to oral tumors or intestinal cancer.
  • Wounds That Never Heal: If your Border Collie has open wounds that never go away, this is a common sign of cancer.

Why Is My Border Collie Scratching So Much?

Excessive itching in dogs can be due to parasites, infections, or allergies. Dealing with their itchy skin right away is crucial as it can lead to more problems. This can result in hot spots, which are angry, red areas of the skin that are very itchy and painful.

The first thing you should do with this issue is to check for parasites on their skin. Then check for any signs of infections, like foul odor or irritated skin. But if you find nothing, you need to do some detective work to figure out what they are allergic to.

Below are more details about each possible cause. You may need your vet to pinpoint the exact reason for your Border Collie’s itchy skin. But this will help you narrow everything down before your vet appointment.

Parasites

Fleas and ticks latch onto your Border Collie’s skin to suck on their blood. Both can make their skin very itchy and it can also cause skin reactions. But the scarier one of the two are ticks as they carry various dangerous diseases.

So remember to include checking their coat into your grooming routine. Inspect the commonly infested areas like their hind legs and at the base of their tail.

Make sure to check your Border Collie’s crates or beds as well for these parasites and the dirt they leave. If you have an infestation, make sure to clean everything that your Border Collie loves to lay down on.

These parasites can jump from one host to another. And it will not take long before it affects your whole household.

Some dogs can also have an allergic reaction to flea saliva. So this can elicit an even bigger reaction when a flea bites them.

Environmental Allergies

Some common environmental allergens are dander, pollen, mold spores, dust mites, and grass. These are all hard to avoid, you can find some of these both in your home and outdoors. Your Border Collie could experience either seasonal allergies or all year round.

You can try to figure out what your Border Collie is allergic to at home, but you would not want them to suffer long. A trip to the vet can help you pinpoint this with some tests.

And the treatment plan for their allergies will depend on their severity. This can be oral medications, desensitization injections, or steroid injections. Your Border Collie can also have a combination of any of these.

Food Allergies

While food allergies are rarer in dogs, they can still happen. The usual culprits for this are chicken, dairy, and beef.

Allergy attacks due to food usually make certain parts of their body itchy. This includes their belly, face, feet, and armpits.

You can figure out what food your Border Collie is allergic to by eliminating certain ones for some time. Exclude chicken from their diet for a while and see if there is any improvement. If not, move on to the next common allergen, like dairy, and do the same.

But a trip to the vet can also help you make this process easier.

Skin Infections

Bacterial skin infections and yeast infections can be very itchy too. These make your Border Collie’s skin irritated, reddish, and can also make them smell bad.

Bacterial infections happen anywhere on your Border Collie’s body. But yeast infections are mostly found on their ears, paws, tail, or neck.

Overbathing

Border Collies only need to bathe a few times a year. A bath every 3 months or so will be enough to keep them clean and smelling nice. Bathing strips off the oils on their skin and this can be a problem if you bathe them often.

Frequent baths will dry out your Border Collie’s skin, making it itchy. But this can also make them smell bad or make their coat more greasy. This is because their skin will overcompensate for the lost oils, producing too much of it.

When this happens, the natural scent of the oils will affect your Border Collie’s smell and coat.

How Do You Stop a Border Collie From Scratching?

Treating your Border Collie scratching problem will depend on what is causing it. You can use over-the-counter treatments, but they are often not effective. This is because they do not tackle the root cause, or you are using the wrong treatment.

So the best thing to do would be to visit your vet. Work with them for the treatment plan that fits your Border Collie’s needs.

To give you an idea of what to expect, here are the common products used for this issue.

Allergies

Your vet can prescribe your Border Collie oral antihistamines or allergy injections. Steroids are also a possibility, but there are side effects that you should know of:

  • Weight Gain
  • Frequent Urination
  • Increased Thirst
  • Behavioral Changes

Medicated shampoos are also great to use if your Border Collie has allergies. Make sure to lather the shampoo into their skin so you make the most out of it. You should ask your vet about the frequency of your Border Collie’s baths with this shampoo.

If your Border Collie has a food allergy, the best thing to do would be to change their diet. Get rid of the food allergen from their meals and look for other alternatives.

Parasites

You can treat their parasite infection with antiparasitic medication from your vet. This can be in the form of sprays, powders, and shampoos.

Be wary of buying over-the-counter ones, as they may only be a band-aid solution. Most of these only kill adult fleas, leaving the eggs on your Border Collie’s skin. So get an antiparasitic medication from your vet to ensure that you kill these fleas, from eggs to adults.

Moving forward, make sure to go to your vet for monthly flea and tick prevention. Preventing these parasites is easier than getting rid of them.

Skin Infections

Depending on the cause, they may need an antibiotic or an antifungal medication. In severe cases, the vet can prescribe your Border Collie oral medication instead.

Overwashing

The best thing to do for this is to lessen your Border Collie’s bathing. Bathe them only about 4 to 5 times a year to avoid drying out their skin.

But if your Border Collie regularly gets very dirty, they may need more baths. In this case, make sure to use the gentlest dog shampoo you can find to avoid drying out their skin. Make sure to use a dog conditioner, too, to bring back some moisture into their skin.

Are Border Collies Prone to Fleas?

Dog breeds with long hair are more attractive to fleas, and this can include Border Collies. This is because their coat provides a lot of hiding spots for these parasites.

But all dogs, no matter their breed, are prone to fleas. And these parasites are often not picky, latching onto any dog they see.

Even short-haired dogs will provide enough dark places for fleas. This is why you often find them on tails, necks, ears, and legs. So a Border Collie with a shorter coat is still not safe from these pesky parasites.

But there is another thing to consider other than your Border Collie’s coat. Fleas love dark, warm, and humid places. And while all dogs have dark and warm spaces for them, not all provide the same humid spots.

This can mean trouble for Border Collies who are allergic to flea bites. Because if they get bitten, the area becomes itchy and they will excessively lick their coat. The saliva on their coat completes the perfect environment for fleas.

But dogs who are not allergic to flea bites may not provide the humid environment that fleas love. Still, fleas are not picky and will latch onto them with no issue.

How Do You Get Rid of Fleas on a Border Collie?

There are various types of flea medication that you can use. You can use a flea shampoo, spray, powder, and more. This can also come in the form of a pill, which is more fast-acting and kills the parasites within hours.

You can buy these medications over-the-counter or from your vet. But to get the best treatment for your furry friend, go with your vet’s recommendation. But whichever you choose, make sure to pick one that tackles every flea life cycle.

Preventing fleas is always better and there are great products for this too. Flea collars and topical products work great for prevention. These can still kill fleas if your Border Collie is already infested, but they are not as aggressive.

Why Does My Border Collie Wheeze?

Your Border Collie’s wheezing can be due to allergies, diseases, or foreign objects. It can also be due to a few health issues, which may need lifelong management and treatment.

Hearing your Border Collie wheeze can be scary and it can make any fur parent worry. Especially since most of the possible reasons need a trip to the vet.

With this, below is a list of common reasons behind canine wheezing.

Foreign Objects

Your Border Collie may have a foreign object stuck in its windpipe. This obstructs their airway, causing wheezing, which is often violent. If this is the case, your Border Collie will find it difficult to breathe and may be in a state of panic.

Oftentimes, toys, bones, and sticks are the culprit here. Make sure to watch what your Border Collie sticks in their mouth. This breed is notorious for being chewy and they may inhale these objects by accident.

This is a medical emergency and you should take your Border Collie to the vet right away. A full obstruction can make them lose consciousness within a few minutes.

Allergies

Allergens entering your Border Collie’s airways can trigger an allergic response. In the case of wheezing, these can make their airways swollen and blocked. Wheezing can happen as a result, along with having a hard time breathing.

Common allergens include the following:

  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Mold Spores
  • Dander

Even cigarette smoke and insect bites or stings can cause your Border Collie to wheeze. If you see them having a hard time breathing, take them to the vet right away as this is an emergency.

Infectious Diseases

Several parasites could also be the culprit behind your Border Collie’s wheezing. These microorganisms can cause diseases such as:

  • Roundworms
  • Hookworms
  • Heartworms
  • Kennel Cough

These are highly contagious between dogs, so be careful when taking your dog outdoors. Especially in dog parks, doggy daycares, and their groomers.

Collapsed Trachea

This occurs when the cartilage surrounding your Border Collie’s trachea weakens. When this happens, they wheeze especially when they get excited or active. You may also notice them snoring more than usual in their sleep.

This condition is more common in small breeds with short noses. But your Border Collie can develop this due to trauma. So be extra careful in handling their neck area, more so when wearing a collar.

Heart Disease

Congestive heart failure can lead to fluid buildup in your Border Collie’s lungs. Wheezing can happen as a result, especially if your Border Collie is older.

Other heart problems can also be the reason for their wheezing. This includes mitral valve disease and cardiomyopathy.

Bronchitis

This condition happens when your Border Collie’s airways swell and produce mucous. The swelling narrows down the airways, causing your Border Collie to wheeze.

While bronchitis can be due to an underlying condition, it can also occur on its own.

What Are Border Collies Commonly Allergic to?

Common food allergens in Border Collies include soy, wheat, dairy, and eggs. They can also be allergic to certain meats like chicken, beef, and lamb.

Environmental allergens that they are commonly allergic to include:

  • Grass
  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Spores
  • Fragrances
  • Latex
  • Cleaning Products

What Can I Give My Border Collie for Allergies?

Medications you can give your Border Collie will depend on their allergy. Before you give anything to your furry friend, make sure to consult your vet first. This way, you can ensure that you provide them with the safest and most effective medication.

Your vet will prescribe them antihistamines, which are often taken orally. Injection options are also available, depending on your vet’s recommendation. Steroid injections are also an option, but these often have side effects.

Are Border Collies Prone to Bladder Problems?

Unfortunately, Border Collies are prone to bladder problems. They have a genetic predisposition to hyperuricosuria. This is a condition in which they have higher levels of uric acid in their urine.

Because of this, Border Collies are prone to forming bladder or kidney stones.

One of these bladder issues that Border Collies are notorious for is oxalate stones. This occurs when their urine is supersaturated with calcium and oxalate. And a vet would need to remove these with surgery or nonsurgical methods.

Sad to say, Border Collies also have a high risk of developing bladder cancer. Dogs afflicted with this will exhibit the following:

  • Frequent Accidents
  • Difficulty Urinating
  • Frequent Urination
  • Presence of Blood in Their Urine
  • Difficulty Producing Urine

If you suspect that your Border Collie has bladder cancer, you need to take them to the vet as soon as you can. Early detection and treatment are the keys. These will give your Border Collie the best chances of overcoming cancer.

Treatments for bladder cancer include piroxicam, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Your vet can recommend doing the first two options together.

Why Is My Border Collie Getting Bald Spots?

Allergies and parasites are only a few of the several possible reasons behind this. Bald patches can also be due to an underlying medical issue, such as hypothyroidism. Sometimes, it is just due to their weight or age.

Your Border Collie’s coat reflects their health, it is natural for you to worry about these spots. Given that there may be a health issue behind this, you should explore all the possibilities.

Allergies

Both environmental and food allergens can make your Border Collie’s skin very itchy. When these trigger their allergies, they will scratch themselves for relief. The constant scratching can lead to hair loss all around their body.

Remember, dogs can also be allergic to flea bites. So this brings an added level of discomfort if your Border Collie has a flea infestation.

Parasites

Ticks, fleas, mites, and lice are all pesky parasites that you do not want anywhere near your furry friend. Not only can they cause hair loss, but they can also bring a lot of discomfort to your Border Collie. If you suspect that they have a parasite infestation, consult your vet before trying to treat it.

Fungal Infection

There are two common types of infections caused by fungi in dogs. One is a yeast infection and the other is a ringworm infection. Border Collies who suffer from this will exhibit bald patches on their bodies.

Pressure Sores

Is your Border Collie old or on the heavier side? If so, these could explain their bald patches.

When bony parts of their body are in constant contact with hard surfaces, they can lose their hair in that area. Their elbows are a good example of this.

Heavier dogs are prone to this because excess weight puts extra pressure on these bony parts. While for older dogs, the skin and fur on these areas may have worn down due to long exposure.

Keep an eye on these pressure sores, as these can form calluses that are prone to cracking and bleeding. These can lead to infections if left untreated.

Health Issue

Border Collies are prone to a medical condition called hypothyroidism. This occurs when their thyroid is not functioning as it should. As a result, this gland cannot make enough thyroxine.

Thyroxine is crucial in your companion’s metabolism and this affects their coat health. Apart from hair loss and bald patches, their skin can become dry as well.

Other health issues that can cause bald patches are the following:

  • Cushing’s Disease
  • Addison’s Disease
  • Alopecia X

Why Is My Border Collie Losing Hair on His Back?

The most common cause of this is flea allergy. If your Border Collie is allergic to fleas, it only takes one bite to trigger hair loss on their back.

Other possible reasons could also be the following:

  • Food or Environmental Allergies (Pollen, chicken, dairy, etc.)
  • Parasite Infestation (Ticks, fleas, mites, or lice)
  • Fungal Infections (Yeast infection or ringworm)
  • Medical Conditions (Hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, Addison’s Disease)

It can be hard to pinpoint the exact reason at home. So the best thing to do is to take your Border Collie to the vet and have them examined.

Why Is My Border Collie Losing Hair on His Ears?

Hair loss around the ears is commonly associated with ear yeast infections. You may also notice a foul odor from your Border Collie’s ears along with discharge.

But there are other possible causes of this such as the following:

  • Ringworm
  • Tick, Flea, Mite, or Lice Infestation
  • Allergies
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Nutritional Deficiency
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Medical Conditions (such as hypothyroidism)

Why Does My Border Collie Keep Getting Ear Infections?

The most common causes of their recurring ear infections are allergies and hypothyroidism. Border Collies are prone to the latter and if they got diagnosed with it, this could be the reason. But you should also see to it if they have allergies and give them proper medication.

Ear infections are a symptom of an underlying cause. And if you treat the main issue, these flare-ups will lessen or even go away.

Other possible reasons are the following:

  • Parasites (ear mites)
  • Polyps or Masses in the Ear Canal
  • Cushing’s Disease
  • Diabetes

If these are not the cause, then you should check your Border Collie’s lifestyle. Any of the following could explain their chronic ear infections:

  • Excess Moisture in the Ears
  • Foreign Bodies in the Ears
  • Frequent Ear Cleaning

Microorganisms thrive in moist environments like in your furry friend’s ears. So if they love to swim or get wet often, make sure to completely dry their ears afterward. Otherwise, bacteria or fungi can infect their ears.

Other than that, Border Collies love to stay outdoors and do not mind getting dirty. Some of this dirt can make its way into their ears. If left there, an ear infection could occur.

So make ear inspections a part of your Border Collie’s daily routine. Check for any grass or debris that is in their ears and get rid of them once you see them.

Make sure to only spot clean these foreign bodies. Excessive ear cleaning can also cause ear infections, especially if you are aggressive.

Ear cleaning changes the pH levels and the ecosystem in their ears. Disrupting these too much can lead to the overgrowth of unwanted microorganisms.

Why Is My Border Collie So Anxious?

Border Collies are extremely sensitive dogs and their nerves can get the best of them at times. As a result, their anxiety is often due to harmless things, such as loud noises. But there are other worrying reasons behind this and it can be due to a health issue.

It is hard to watch your Border Collie get all flustered. But understanding them and figuring out the cause is the first step in helping them.

Environmental Stimuli

A busy environment can overwhelm your Border Collie, especially loud noises. Sirens, fireworks, and even people passing by can make them anxious.

A change in the environment can also trigger their nerves. New neighbors, the death of a pet, and a new baby are all examples of this.

Too Much Alone Time

Border Collies are very emotional pack dogs. They want to be close to their family, especially their favorite person, all the time. But if they are alone at home for most of the day, this can make them distressed.

They do not cope with loneliness well. If this routine of leaving them alone goes on, they may develop separation anxiety.

And since Border Collies are smart, they can pick up signs that you are leaving. Grabbing your keys, putting your shoes on, and more can trigger their anxiety.

A Particular Person Is Scary

Some say that dogs are a great judge of character. Whether you believe it or not, your Border Collie may not like someone. You may never know why, but it could be the energy that the person gives off. This can happen if your Border Collie is a new mom. They may get anxious around men but are okay with having women around them.

Past Trauma

It is no secret that previous bad experiences can make dogs fearful and anxious. This can be abuse, harsh punishments, neglect, and more.

Certain scenarios can remind your poor Border Collie of a bad past. When this happens, they go into distress mode and look for ways to calm themselves.

While you cannot change the past, at least your Border Collie is in a loving home right now. In time, with proper care, they will understand that you will protect and love them for as long as they live.

Lack of Socialization

If your Border Collie is too sheltered at home, then they may get scared of meeting new people and dogs. They do not know how to act in the presence of strangers and this makes them anxious.

This is why socialization is a crucial part of their development. Through this, they build the social skills they need to interact with others.

So take them to dog parks and other social events. They will be nervous at first, but in time, they will get desensitized.

Health Issues

An anxious Border Collie out of the blue could mean that they have a medical problem. It will be hard to pinpoint the cause if your vet does not examine your Border Collie.

You may also see other symptoms along with this, such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy

But even without these, a change in behavior warrants a trip to the vet.

What Can You Do for an Anxious Border Collie?

The first thing to do is to rule out health issues as the reason behind your Border Collie’s anxiety. Anxiety may only be a symptom of a bigger issue, So you need to nip the problem in the bud.

If they have a clean bill of health, the best thing to do when they are anxious is to distract them. So play their favorite game and give them treats in the process. This will put their focus on playtime instead of their nerves.

There are also ways to address their anxiety depending on the cause.

Desensitization

Your Border Collie does not experience some scary stimuli all the time. But for some that they hear or see often, you need to put in some work to get them used to it. Cars or people passing by or new neighbors are some examples of this.

Inviting your neighbors into your home is a good start. This way, your curious Border Collie will know where the new smells are coming from. Make them have a fun-filled interaction with your neighbors to lessen their nerves.

Consistent Home Environment

Even the tiniest change, like a new scent, can make your Border Collie anxious. This is a bigger issue if your furry friend has OCD tendencies.

So do your best to keep a consistent environment. Keep items in their proper area, to start. You can also use a lavender-scented diffuser to help reduce their anxiety.

Reducing Their Alone Time

Border Collies hate being alone and this can lead them to develop behavioral issues. If they spend more than 3 or 4 hours alone, then you should seek help.

You can have family or friends watch over them as you work. Or, you can get a dog sitter as well. Leaving your Border Collie in a doggy daycare for the day is also another option for you.

This will help your Border Collie overcome anxiety due to loneliness. While they would rather be with you, the company of others is better than having none at all.

Socialization

If your Border Collie is afraid of a certain person or strangers and other dogs, this will help.

First, they should have positive interactions with them. Have your Border Collie observe them from afar at first. Once they have warmed up, have the other person start an interaction.

Use your Border Collie’s love for play to your advantage! Have the other person throw a ball at them so your furry friend understands they mean no harm. Make sure you give them treats in the process, too, to further build on the positive associations.

If the person they are afraid of is loud or acts intimidating, this will not work. Kindly ask the other person to be more soft-spoken and calm when your Border Collie is around.

For other canine friends, start from afar too. When a dog goes near, keep giving them treats so your Border Collie’s focus is on you.

Make sure to keep a safe distance, getting them too close can trigger your furry friend’s anxiety. It can even make them aggressive.

Keep doing this until your Border Collie does not react in the presence of other dogs anyone. This will take time, so do not expect progress overnight.

Why Is My Border Collie Shaking?

Border Collies will shake their bodies out of excitement. You usually see this when you come home after a long day or right before playtime. Depending on the situation, this can also mean that they are cold or anxious.

But their shaking can also be a symptom of an underlying health issue or medical emergency. Given that Border Collies are prone to seizures, this needs serious attention.

So take your Border Collie to the vet right away if the shaking comes with other worrying symptoms. This could be due to the following medical problems:

  • Nausea: This is often a symptom of other issues like motion sickness and overeating. But it can also be due to kidney or liver disease.
  • Poisoning: Chocolate, avocados, and human medicine are some toxic substances to dogs. If you think they ingested a toxin, take them to the emergency vet as soon as possible.
  • Injury: Shaking can mean that your Border Collie is in pain or discomfort. In sick or old dogs, shaking is a sign that they are struggling with their balance.
  • Allergic Reaction: Insect bites, bee stings, and snake bites can all cause this. Shaking is a symptom, and your Border Collie may experience aggressive shaking.
  • Distemper: This occurs if your Border Collie has not completed their vaccines. Distemper is a contagious and often fatal disease.
  • Seizure Disorders: Border Collies are genetically predisposed to epilepsy. So take them to the vet as soon as you can to manage their episodes.
  • Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS): This condition is also known as shaker syndrome. Your Border Collie will have repetitive and rhythmic tremors if they have this.

Why Is My Border Collie Limping?

Your Border Collie’s limping can be due to trauma or injury, or it can be an underlying health issue. The former is more likely if the limping occurred suddenly. For health issues, the limping is gradual and you may not notice it at first.

Limping Due to Injury or Trauma

Border Collies are quite the athlete and they love to show off their physical abilities. But this can mean that they get into accidents from time to time.

These accidents can cause the following conditions:

  • Sprains: Injured ligaments, soft tissues, or muscles. Less serious ones usually improve on their own.
  • Fractures: This causes great pain to your Border Collie. Their legs may get swollen or deformed, sometimes their bone protrudes out of their skin. This is a medical emergency and they should see a vet right away.
  • Strained Tendons: This occurs when your Border Collie stretches themselves to the limit.
  • Carpal Hyperextension Syndrome: This condition is often seen in puppies. It occurs when they have joint laxity or low muscle tone.

Limping in Puppies

The following health issues are possible reasons behind a puppy’s limping:

  • Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)
  • Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD)
  • Panosteitis

Border Collies are prone to the first one, OCD. This often occurs in their shoulders and can cause great discomfort.

These conditions affect puppies undergoing rapid growth. Their bones and muscles cannot keep up with the growth. As a result, there is extra pressure on them.

Limping in Specific Legs

When their limping occurs on their front legs, it could be elbow dysplasia or muscle or tendon injury. On their back legs, it could be hip dysplasia, ruptured ACL or CCL, or luxating patella.

Among all these, Border Collies are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia.

Limping Due to Diseases

Your Border Collie’s limping can even be a symptom of some serious diseases:

  • Lyme Disease
  • Arthritis
  • Bone Cancer
  • Neurological Disorders

What Is Border Collie IVDD?

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) is a disorder that affects your Border Collie’s spine. This causes them immense pain along with mobility problems. In severe cases of this disease, your Border Collie could get paralyzed.

There are two types of IVDD, one is Hansen Type I and the other is Hansen Type II. Each type has certain dog breeds that it often affects. But all dogs can suffer from these.

Hansen Type I occurs when the intervertebral disc ruptures.

A typical disc is compressible and withstands flexing, twisting, and extending well. But in IVDD, the disc hardens and becomes incompressible.

Normal wear and tear cause the disc to calcify, causing it to explode. But it can also happen as a result of excess pressure on the spine like jumping.

When the disc ruptures, its contents ooze out. This then puts pressure on your Border Collie’s spinal cord, causing issues. This form of IVDD is the more painful one of the two.

Hansen Type II occurs when the outer part of the disc bulges. It hardens over time and compresses the spinal cord.

This form of IVDD occurs gradually in dogs. They will have mobility issues, like hesitancy to jump, exercise, and more.

The sooner find out that your Border Collie has IVDD, the better. This will help you get a better outcome and you can do with conservative treatments. Delaying medical treatment can lead to severe or irreversible damage.

IVDD is manageable with anti-inflammatory and steroid medications. In severe cases like paralysis, the best option for this disease is surgery.

Why Do Border Collies Get IVDD?

IVDD starts with the hardening of the intervertebral discs. This causes it to rupture or bulge, compressing the spinal cord. Although this disease is often degenerative, it can also happen suddenly.

Extreme external force, like jumping from great heights, can damage the disc. The force can cause the disc to rupture, compressing the nerves of the spinal cord.

So while certain breeds are prone to IVDD, any dog can get it, even your Border Collie. This disease is something to watch out for since they are a superathlete.

Border Collies who are agility dogs are especially susceptible to IVDD. But this can happen to your furry friend even if they use your home as their obstacle course.

Nothing seems to stop a Border Collie from showing off their physical prowess. But make sure that they know their limits and train them to land on their feet the proper way.

What Age Do Border Collies Get IVDD?

Hansen Type I IVDD usually occurs in dogs aged 2 years old and above. While Hansen Type II occurs in dogs aged 5 to 12 years of age. But keep in mind that your Border Collie can have IVDD at any age.

It can take only one bad landing for them to have problems with their disc. So you should teach your Border Collie not to jump from high areas.

How Do You Know if Your Border Collie Has IVDD?

Border Collies afflicted with IVDD will show a wide range of symptoms. Common ones include neck stiffness, back pain, and an unusual gait. But the symptoms they show will depend on what part of their spine got affected.

Keep in mind that IVDD can worsen the longer you wait before seeking medical help. So if you see any signs of this disease, take your companion to the vet right away.

Below are the many symptoms of IVDD, classified based on where it occurs.

Cervical IVDD Symptoms

This type of IVDD affects your Border Collie’s neck. The symptoms, though, may show throughout their body.

  • Neck Stiffness
  • Hunched Back
  • Shivering
  • Altered Gait
  • Hesitance to Move
  • Difficulty in Balancing and Walking

Thoracolumbar IVDD Symptoms

If the damaged disc is on your Border Collie’s lower back, here are the possible symptoms:

  • Trouble With Balance
  • Inability to Move Hind Legs
  • No Sensation in Hind Legs
  • Knuckling of Hind Paws
  • Difficulty Walking
  • Crossed Hind Legs While Walking
  • Muscle Spasms

Lumbosacral IVDD Symptoms

IVDD in the lower back can cause distinct symptoms. Here are the signs of damaged discs in the lower back that you should watch out for:

  • Incontinence (Fecal or Urinal)
  • Dilated Anus
  • Reluctance to Jump
  • Pain
  • Limp Tail

Is IVDD Hereditary in Border Collies?

While IVDD is hereditary in some dog breeds, this is not the case in Border Collies. This breed has a healthy body conformation compared to other dogs prone to this. Still, all dog breeds can have IVDD.

Genetics is not the only factor that can lead to IVDD. Excess weight puts more pressure on a dog’s back, which can mean trouble. A strong external force, like a bad landing, can also cause IVDD.

How Likely Is a Border Collie to Get IVDD?

Since several factors can lead to IVDD, there is no exact answer to this. Each dog is an individual, each with a different lifestyle, bloodline, and more. Their activity level and even their weight are something to consider in this disease.

All these considered, it is hard to quantify their likelihood for IVDD. Dog breeds predisposed to this may have more data. But unfortunately, Border Collies are not one of them.

How Do You Prevent IVDD in Border Collies?

There are many ways to help prevent the recurrence of IVDD in your Border Collie. These are simple yet effective methods, so while they are not high risk for IVDD, it is best to practice these.

One of the best things you can do is to keep your furry friend at a healthy weight. Extra fat on their body is bad news for their spine, as the weight exerts more pressure on their back. This makes your Border Collie susceptible to IVDD.

Another thing is to lessen their jumping, especially from high areas. Landing on the ground from a jump is hard on their joint and backs, to begin with. This also puts extra pressure on their spine and this may damage their discs.

Lifting your Border Collie is also a crucial preventive measure. Make sure that their back is always aligned when picking them up, carrying them, and putting them down.

Other great ways to prevent IVDD are to use a harness instead of a collar and using a back brace.

What Percentage of Border Collies Get Back Problems?

It is hard to tell how many Border Collies get back problems. As with other health issues, there are a lot of factors to consider like genetics and lifestyle.

Back problems are not listed as a common health issue in this breed. But with how active they are, they can get back trauma or injury. Especially in Border Collies who compete in agility competitions.

An example of this is acute non-compressive nucleus pulposus extrusion (ANNPE). Border Collies are prone to this back problem, mostly because of their lifestyle.

This condition also affects their intervertebral discs and spinal cord, like IVDD.

In ANNPE, the intervertebral disc suddenly shoots out of its encasement. How it affects the spinal cord is not by compression. Instead, the high velocity of the disc shooting out bruises the spinal cord.

ANNPE often occurs when your Border Collie is in action, such as landing from a fall. There may be immediate pain that causes them to yelp right away. They begin to have difficulty walking soon after.

What Causes Border Collies to Have Back Problems?

Usually, back problems in Border Collies are due to accidents or overexertion. Bad falls, pushing their bodies to the limit, and more, can strain their spinal cords. These not only cause injuries and trauma, but they can also lead to more serious back issues.

What Age Do Border Collies Get Back Problems?

Border Collies can experience back problems at any age. Apart from diseases that affect their back, they can also get back issues due to injury or trauma. While this is common in older dogs, even young puppies can still suffer from this.

Puppies undergoing rapid development are at high risk for injuries. While young Border Collies love to exercise, they may push themselves to the limit. But their bodies have not matured and are still soft in some areas, and injuries are always around the corner.

Once they enter adulthood, their bodies are more robust and can take on a lot of physical activities. Still, there is the risk of injuries when they become too reckless.

Even more in Border Collies who compete in dog sports, which is very taxing on their body. Lower back issues are a particular concern in agility dogs, which this breed is most notable for.

And as you know, there are a lot of age-related health issues in canines, including back problems. This is due to the weakening of their bones, which is a common issue in canines. Especially if they are overweight, which is often due to their sedentary lifestyle.

How Do You Know if Your Border Collie Has Back Problems?

You can tell if your Border Collie has back problems by looking for its symptoms. Their gait, posture, and even behavior may alter. Any sudden occurrence of these is always an emergency, a trip to the vet should be the first thing you do.

Since back problems have a wide range of symptoms, it is best that you know every possible one. Below, you will find a list of signs to watch out for.

  • Stiffness: This affects their posture and oftentimes, they hang their head low.
  • Dragging Their Feet: They will often drag their hind legs as they walk.
  • Vocalizations: They may cry or bark when as they walk or when you touch them, especially on their back.
  • Reluctance to Move: It will be hard for them to play, walk, or rise.
  • Decreased Appetite: This is due to the pain in their neck. So they are reluctant to bend down to reach their bowl for food or water.
  • Urinary or Bladder Incontinence
  • Limping or Wobbly Gait
  • Hunched Back
  • Shivering or Muscle Spasms
  • Behavioral Changes

What Can You Do for a Border Collie With Back Pain?

The best thing you can do for your Border Collie is to take them to the vet as soon as you see signs of back pain. Depending on the severity, this can be incapacitating for your furry friend. So your main focus right now is how to manage their pain.

To do this, your furry friend may need prescription medicine. Anti-inflammatory medicine and opioids are a way to relieve their pain fast. Make sure you follow your vet’s instructions carefully. These drugs can have adverse effects on your Border Collie if used wrong.

While this solves their discomfort, this is only a band-aid solution. Back pain is often a symptom of an underlying condition. So you need to have the main cause itself treated.

Back problems are not something you can manage alone. You need to work with your vet to help your Border Collie. In some cases, this is a lifelong process.

Their treatment plan depends on the underlying cause, though. And sometimes, it warrants surgery. So below are your treatment options that you can talk to your vet about.

Medication

Your vet can prescribe your Border Collie with any of the following:

  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Opioids
  • Pain Relievers

These are for your Border Collie’s pain management. Along with these prescriptions, they should also get a lot of rest. And when it is time for exercise, make sure you keep an eye on them.

Talk to your vet about having your Border Collie take supplements as well. Nutritional and joint supplements will help in healing your furry friend’s back.

Therapy

There are various therapy options for your Border Collie, such as:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Cold Laser Therapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Ultrasound Waves
Physical Therapy

This type has two main goals. One is to strengthen the weaker parts of your Border Collie’s body. The other is to stretch out any stiffness they have due to back pain.

Specialists will plan a regimen catered to the dog’s needs. And after each session, they will use heating or cooling pads on sore areas.

Cold Laser Therapy

This method boosts your Border Collie’s natural healing abilities. The energy from the laser helps in two things.

One is stimulating blood flow and the other is triggering the release of stem cells.

Both of these will boost the body’s healing process.

Hydrotherapy

The method and goal of hydrotherapy are much like physical therapy. But the difference is that your Border Collie does their regimen in water.

Hydrotherapy is easier on their joints and muscles. This is because water lessens the stress on your Border Collie’s body.

Any form of exercise, even hydrotherapy or physical therapy, promotes blood flow. This will also stimulate a faster healing process.

Ultrasound Waves

The first three methods may not be enough for pain in hard-to-reach areas. But ultrasound waves can penetrate deeper into your companion’s body to relieve pain.

These waves produce heat, which improves blood flow and tackles back pain.

Surgery

If medications and therapy do not work, it is time to consider surgery. The method will depend on the health condition. And after surgery, your Border Collie will still need medication and therapy.

How to Prevent Back Problems in Border Collies?

Simple lifestyle and home changes can help prevent back problems. The main thing to consider is keeping your Border Collie’s spine always aligned and safe. Below are ways that you can do this.

Manage Their Weight

If your Border Collie is on the heavier side, there will be extra pressure on its back. This can lead to several back problems like IVDD for example.

Border Collies are prone to obesity, so keep a watchful eye on the scale. Managing their weight should be easy, though, since they love to stay active.

Supervise Their Physical Activities

Exercise burns your Border Collie’s calories, keeping them at a healthy weight. But physical activities can also lead to back problems if they get too reckless. Your Border Collie may fall from a shelf and this can hurt their spinal discs.

If you allow them to play unsupervised, you cannot stop them from doing something that may harm them. So during playtime, make sure you keep an eye on them. This way, you can prevent your Border Collie from getting into accidents.

And if they do, you know exactly what happened. You can take them to the vet right away in cases of emergency.

Use a Harness

Do you use a collar to walk your Border Collie? If so, you may want to replace it with a harness. Collars can put excess pressure on their neck when used.

Sudden movements can injure your Border Collie’s neck. This can lead to back problems down the line. Harnesses distribute this pressure throughout their body by supporting their lower region.

Back Support

Back braces are great for limiting your Border Collie’s motion. With this, their back is always stabilized when wearing one. It also gives them back pain relief through compression.

You can also use a belly supporter or a dog wheelchair. These work great in lessening the strain on their back.

Limit Their Jumping

If your Border Collie is fond of jumping around, they are at higher risk of back problems. This includes injuries and diseases, such as IVDD. This can be a tough task and you may never completely stop them from jumping.

But you can train your Border Collie to avoid jumping around. Remember to use positive reinforcement as this encourages them to listen to you best.

Make Changes in the House

Your home environment should also be safe for your Border Collie.

One of the ways you can do this is to avoid having them walk on slippery surfaces. Use rubber mats or carpets to cover them. Otherwise, your active Border Collie could slip and hurt its back.

Another way is to give them their safe space, like a small room or their crate. Your Border Collie can rest in their personal space, limiting their movement.

You can also put up ramps wherever needed so they do not have to jump on places, like the bed. Likewise, you should avoid letting them use the stairs.

Pick Them Up Properly

You cannot carry your Border Collie in any way you want. Carrying them by the armpits, collar, or tail can be very painful. This also increases their risk for back problems.

So make sure to pick them up them using two hands. One under their chest, between their front legs. The other hand should be under their rump.

And as you lift them, make sure you keep their back aligned at all times, even when putting them back down.

How Do You Know if Your Border Collie Hurt Its Back?

You can often tell that your Border Collie hurt its back by looking at them. They will start limping, show stiffness, and have an arched back. Sometimes you will hear them yelp whenever they walk or when you touch them.

There are many signs to watch out for, though. Other than those mentioned, there are others such as:

  • Lack of Coordination
  • Shaking Legs
  • Wobbly Gait
  • Behavioral Changes
  • Incontinence
  • Reluctance to Walk or Move Their Neck

If you see any of these signs, take your poor furry friend to the vet right away. They will need immediate care to relieve their pain. Delaying medical treatment can make their issue worse.

Is It Common for Border Collies to Break Their Backs?

It is not uncommon for Border Collies to break their backs, especially due to injuries. They often get one during physical activities, such as dog sports like agility. But they can also break their back by falling from a height, traffic accident, or fighting with other dogs.

This is why you should keep an eye on them at all times, especially during exercises. And before taking part in dog sports, make sure to train them properly. This will help prevent any back injuries during competitions.

What to Do When Your Border Collie Hurts Their Back?

Border Collies who hurt their back for whatever reason need to see a vet right away. Even more so if you find that it is a serious injury.

So the first thing you should do is to contact the nearest veterinary hospital right away. This will help them prepare what they need ahead of time. This is so once your Border Collie arrives, someone is available to tend to them immediately.

But before that, you need to safely transport your injured Border Collie. Transporting an injured dog is tricky as it is easy to make mistakes that cause them more pain.

Sometimes, they cannot stand up at all after hurting their back. So the best thing you can do is to use a makeshift stretcher. Something firm and flat will do, like a big wood board.

To do this, have your Border Collie lie down on its side in a recovery position. Be careful not to bend their body, you should stabilize their back throughout the process.

Then place about two or three long ropes or cloth under the board. Make sure to avoid the area where your Border Collie’s neck will rest.

Now place one hand under your Border Collie’s chest and the other under their rump. Gently slide your Border Collie onto the stretcher. It is best if you have someone with you to assist.

After this, tie your Border Collie to the board. Not too tight that it causes them discomfort. But make sure it is not too loose that they move around during the car ride.

You can now take your Border Collie to the vet and get them the help that they need.

How Long Does It Take for a Border Collie to Recover From Back Injury?

Depending on the severity of their back injury, it can take them several days to a few weeks to recover. Mild injuries can recover by themselves within days. But your Border Collie will need lots of rest and medicines like:

  • Painkillers
  • Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
  • Muscle Relaxers

Keep in mind that mild injuries do not mean pain-free. Your Border could still experience severe pain, along with an altered posture. They will also be reluctant in moving around.

Mild injuries only mean that their spinal cord is not damaged. But in severe back injuries, their spinal discs got compromised. Their symptoms are more intense, like the following:

  • Paralysis
  • Loss of Sensation
  • Difficulty Pooping or Peeing

Naturally, recovery from severe back injuries will take weeks. Your Border Collie can do with aggressive medicines and cage rest.

But sometimes, the only option is surgery. This can extend their recovery time even more.

How Much Is Back Surgery for Border Collies?

The cost of their back surgery ranges anywhere between $2000 to $6000. But this is only for the surgery and the total bill for all necessary expenses will be higher. Some of the extra expenses may include any of the following:

  • Physical Examination
  • Urinalysis
  • Blood Test
  • X-Rays
  • MRI
  • CT Scan
  • Spinal Tap
  • Anesthesia
  • Pain Medication
  • Myelogram
  • Neurological Exam
  • Penicillin Shot
  • IV Fluid (charges per day)

This also does not include the boarding costs your Border Collie needs after the surgery. They may also need antianxiety medication, driving the cost further up.

Taking all those into account, the total bill could cost you around $6000 to $14000.

The costs do not stop there, though. You will still need to shell out money post-surgery.

Your Border Collie will still need medications, physical therapy, and follow-up examinations after.

As you can see, this is a steep price to pay. But certain factors can also further increase your costs:

  • Your Location
  • The Severity of the Back Problem
  • The Size of Your Border Collie

If you live in a place with a high cost of living, expect your vet bills to be higher too. And if their back issue is more serious, or if they are a big dog, you will get charged more.

How Successful Is Back Surgery on Border Collies?

The success of the back surgery depends on the severity of the condition. It will also depend on the duration between the first symptoms and the surgery. This is why you should seek immediate help if you notice that your Border Collie has back problems.

If your Border Collie still has sensation in their legs, the success rate is about 95%. But if they cannot feel anything anymore, the success rate drops to about 50%.

Delaying help can worsen your Border Collie’s back problems. And as you can see, a more severe condition or losing sensation can make their chances slim. Unfortunately, this can even lead to permanent damage.

How Long Does It Take for a Border Collie to Recover From Back Surgery?

It can take your Border Collie about 6 to 8 weeks to recover from their back surgery. During the recovery period, you must control its physical activities.

Make sure they do not run, jump, or use the stairs. You should also not let them play with other dogs. Instead, you should give them strict cage rest and follow your vet’s recommendations.

Physical therapy can be of great help to your Border Collie after surgery. This will help them to regain their strength so they can bounce back as soon as they can. Since you need to limit their activities, their muscles may weaken during cage rest.

Remember, a sedentary lifestyle can make your Border Collie gain weight. And this breed is prone to obesity, which can further hurt their backs.

How Do You Know if Your Border Collie Is in Pain?

Pain in canines can manifest in a variety of ways, so you need to look for its symptoms. Some signs are more obvious, like shaking, crying, and increased panting. But some signs are more subtle, such as depression and reduced appetite.

Unfortunately, dogs often hide the pain that they feel from their owners. This is a survival tactic used by wild dogs but stayed in domesticated ones. Your Border Collie is no exception to this.

So you always have to keep a keen eye on observing your Border Collie. Look at their body language, since they cannot tell you how they feel. Here are other signs to watch out for, other than those mentioned above:

  • Trembling
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Excessive Licking
  • Lameness
  • Aggression

Your Border Collie may even hide from you, avoiding any interaction. They will not be in the mood to play or even go outside.

When you do go near them and try to touch them, you may notice more signs of pain such as:

  • Lip Licking
  • Flinching
  • Vocalization
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Turning Their Head Away From You
  • Warmth, Redness, or Swelling in Certain Areas

What Can I Give My Border Collie for Pain?

There are several prescribed medicines, alternative medicines, and therapy that you can try. But pain is a symptom of an underlying condition, so you need to consult a vet first. Pain management is only a band-aid solution to the issue.

The best thing to do would be to treat the health issue itself. But some medical conditions have no cure, only management. In that case, you have to look for various ways to relieve your Border Collie’s pain.

Worry not, there are various approaches to this. Your options are all laid out below.

Prescribed Medicine

Before anything, do not give your Border Collie any drugs without consulting your vet. Especially ones meant for humans. Some, like ibuprofen, are toxic for your Border Collie.

There are safe and effective options for their pain, like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. NSAID is a common pain medication in dogs, often used for arthritis and injuries. It is even used post-surgery.

Although effective, NSAIDs may not work well in certain types of pain. So your Border Collie may see more improvement using these medications:

  • Amantadine: Often prescribed for arthritis, cancer, and disc disease.
  • Tramadol: A mild opioid commonly used for older dogs with chronic pain. Although effective in managing pain, it may not help with inflammation.
  • Gabapentin: Tackles nerve pain and is usually prescribed for dogs who have seizures. This is also used to relieve pain.

Take note that these medicines may have side effects on your Border Collie. You should discuss what these are with your vet.

Alternative Medicine

Joint supplements may be effective if your Border Collie suffers from arthritic pain. These do not control the pain, but they can help to prevent it from worsening. This is because these work by improving their joint health.

If you want to use joint supplements, look for ones that contain the following:

  • MSM
  • Glucosamine
  • Chondroitin

Cannabinoids (CBD) are also said to help in pain management. But these are all anecdotal evidence, so take this with a grain of salt. You should discuss this option with your vet before using CBD on your Border Collie.

Alternative Therapies

Some dog owners want a more natural approach to controlling their furry friend’s pain. If this sounds like you, you may want to consider the following:

  • Massage Therapy: This boosts blood flow, which encourages their natural healing abilities. Other than that, it also relaxes their muscles, lowers stress, and more.
  • Acupuncture: Often suggested for dogs with arthritis, trauma, injury, or who had surgery. Make sure to go with a reputable and licensed animal acupuncturist.
  • Aromatherapy: This helps to encourage healing, lower stress levels, and may relieve pain.

At-Home Care

You can further help manage your Border Collie’s pain at home in simple ways. One of them is by giving them plenty of rest. This will help in speeding up their healing time, especially if they had surgery or an injury.

Other than that, here are some others you can try:

  • Ice Packs: You can use an ice pack on painful areas on your Border Collie’s body. But do not do this if their pain is due to open wounds or something internal.
  • Heating Pads: A warm washcloth can also work if you do not have a heating pad. Use this like how you would an ice pack. But sometimes, this can worsen the pain. So it is best to talk to your vet first before using heat therapy.

How Many Teeth Does a Border Collie Have?

As adults, Border Collies have a total of 42 permanent teeth. On their upper jaw, they have 20 teeth. While their lower jaw has the remaining 22.

But as puppies, they only have 28 milk teeth, also called deciduous or baby teeth. You may wonder, where did those extra teeth come from?

Your Border Collie’s first set of teeth does not include their premolars and molars yet. These teeth type erupts later in the teething stage.

How Many Sets of Teeth Do Border Collies Have?

Border Collies have two sets of teeth, like humans. The first set of teeth is their baby teeth. And once they are around 3 to 7 months of age, their second, permanent set comes in.

Dogs have different types of teeth, and each one erupts at certain months of age. Below is a list of these teeth, when they come in, and what they are for.

  • Incisors: These are the small teeth on the front of their mouth, used for tearing and grooming. There are a total of 12 incisors, which come out at around 2 to 5 months of age.
  • Canines: These pointy teeth of your Border Collie, two on both the upper and lower jaw. They use their canines for puncturing or holding onto an object. Canines come out at around 5 to 6 months of age.
  • Premolars: Behind the canines are 16 premolars, which they use for shearing. Premolars erupt at around 4 to 6 months of age.
  • Molars: These flat teeth are what they use for chewing and grinding. There are 4 of these on the upper jaw and 6 on the lower jaw. Molars usually erupt last, at about 4 to 7 months of age.

Do Border Collies Have Bad Teeth?

This breed does not have the best pearly whites, they often have bad teeth. They are prone to having misaligned teeth and overbites, unfortunately. This is due to the long and narrow shape of their nose, crowding the teeth and causing issues.

Because of this, Border Collies are more likely to have plaque and tartar buildup. This can lead to several dental and health issues if you do not brush their teeth regularly.

Bad breath is one, but there are more serious issues with more severe consequences. Plaque and tartar buildup can lead to gingivitis. This can then progress into periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease can weaken your Border Collie’s teeth structure. So if you do not seek help, their teeth could fall off. It can also affect your Border Collie’s heart health if left untreated.

How Can You Tell If Your Border Collie Has Bad Teeth?

You can usually tell that they have bad teeth by the smell of their mouth and by inspecting their teeth. If your Border Collie shows any of the signs below, take them to the vet right away. Early treatment is necessary to prevent their issue from getting worse.

Here are some common signs that your Border Collie has bad teeth:

  • Bad Breath
  • Excessive Drooling
  • Discoloration on Their Teeth
  • Difficulty in Chewing
  • Plaque Buildup
  • Missing Teeth
  • Presence of Blood in Their Saliva

They will also paw on their mouth or rub their mouth against anything, like carpets. This is their way of trying to relieve their pain.

Is It Common for Border Collies to Lose Their Teeth?

This will depend on their age. It is normal, not common, for a puppy to lose their first set of teeth. This is a natural process every puppy no matter their breed.

But in adults Border Collies, this is not normal. This is often a sign of dental disease, which affects over half of dogs aged 3 years old.

Unfortunately, this breed is not blessed with the best teeth among dogs. So they are more likely to develop dental diseases.

It is hard to say how common it is for them to lose their teeth due to dental disease. Losing a tooth or two would mean that their condition is severe. Many dogs already get the help they need before they reach this point.

Why Do Border Collies Lose Their Teeth?

Border Collies can lose their teeth due to dental disease, tooth decay, and trauma. A scary thought is that their everyday routine can make them more likely to get these. So you need to learn more about these because once they lose their teeth, they will never get them back.

Dental Disease

Periodontal disease is the most common reason why dogs lose their teeth in adulthood. Around 85% of adult dogs have signs of this disease. While 75% of them at 3 years of age or older already have periodontal disease.

The effects of periodontal disease are irreversible. So the best thing you can do for your Border Collie is to prevent it from even happening.

You can do this by following a thorough and regular brushing routine, at least thrice a week. A Border Collie’s teeth have sharper edges than other breeds, so make sure to go through those.

If you neglect their oral hygiene, plaque and tartar can build up on the surface of their teeth. Bacteria can then go down to your Border Collie’s gums, causing gingivitis. This can progress to periodontal disease if you do not do something about it.

For Border Collies who already have periodontal disease, it is not the end of the world. You can still get them the help they need and prevent their condition from worsening.

Periodontal disease can negatively impact your Border Collie’s quality of life. They will be in constant pain as their body tries to reject the bad tooth. This can even lead to a serious infection.

Apart from these, they can also experience the following:

  • Pain During Mealtime
  • Behavioral Changes

This can also increase their risk of developing diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

Tooth Decay

Your furry friend uses their teeth for almost everything. This includes picking up objects, carrying stuff, and chewing food or other items. The frequency of their usage increases their teeth’s wear and tear.

As a result, your canine companion’s tooth decay occurs at a faster rate than yours. They will need the help of a veterinary dentist for cleaning, extraction, or removal. If left untreated, your Border Collie will experience constant pain.

Trauma

Dental trauma can occur in a few ways, like accidents and chewing on hard items. Your Border Collie’s high prey drive can contribute to this. They are mouthy dogs who will catch objects with their mouth and chew on them for pleasure.

Working Border Collies are also prone to teeth trauma. They use their teeth a lot and can lose their tooth at some point.

So make sure to invest in safe chew toys for your Border Collie. Avoid giving them cooked bones, as these are hard to chew. Other than that, cooked bones are also brittle and the splinters can injure their mouth.

How Many Teeth Do Border Collies Lose?

When it comes to the teething process, they will lose all their 28 baby teeth. This is necessary to make way for the 42 permanent teeth they will get after teething. There is no exact way to tell how many teeth they will lose due to other factors, though.

In dental trauma and tooth decay, this will depend on the number of teeth affected. The same goes for periodontal disease. But with this, all your Border Collie’s teeth have an equal chance of falling off.

What Age Do Border Collies Lose Their Baby Teeth?

Your Border Collie puppy will start losing their baby teeth at around 3 to 4 months of age. They may swallow their teeth, but do not worry as this does not harm them. Your furry friend’s loose teeth may also fall off while playing or eating.

Sometimes, you may see blood on their favorite chew toys. But this is not a cause for concern.

This is often when dog owners’ issues with biting and chewing grow. Your Border Collie puppy will chew on anything that they can get their furry paws on.

So during the teething stage, make sure you puppy-proof your home. Hide toxic substances, dangerous items, and your favorite shoes!

How Long Are Border Collies Teething?

At around 6 months of age, your Border Collie puppy’s teething will stop. All their permanent teeth will have grown at this stage, all 42 of them! Any remaining baby teeth at this stage are a cause for concern, though.

This can cause a lot of pain, and food and debris can get stuck in the gap between the baby and adult teeth. And as you know, this can develop into tooth decay or dental disease.

So make sure to see a vet if your Border Collie’s baby teeth have not fallen out. As painful and costly as it may be, teeth removal is necessary before it leads to problems.

What Should Border Collie Teeth Look Like?

Healthy Border Collie teeth should be clean, with no signs of plaque and tartar buildup. There should also be no food remnants or debris dislodged in the gaps between their teeth. Your Border Collie’s teeth should also be white, free from any discoloration.

When talking about their teeth, you should also consider their gums. You should consider these two when inspecting their oral health. Their gums should be pinkish in color, with no redness, bleeding, or swelling.

Their mouth should also not emit any foul odor, which is often a sign that they have dental issues.

Are Border Collies Known to Have Bad Teeth?

Since Border Collies are likely to have dental problems, they are more prone to having bad breath. This is due to some factors, like being at risk for having overbites or misaligned teeth. Also, their teeth have sharper edges than other dogs, creating gaps that are tricky to reach.

If you are strict with their oral hygiene though, you can prevent them from having bad breath. You can also make use of dental products, such as dental chews. This will aid in cleaning your Border Collie’s teeth along with brushing their teeth.

Their diet also plays a huge role in their dental health. Do not feed your Border Collie ingredients such as the following:

  • Grains
  • Meals
  • By-Products

These are not only unhealthy, but they are also likely to stick to their teeth’s surface. As a result, your Border Collie will become more prone to plaque and tartar buildup.

Instead, go for high-quality whole foods. These contain supplements and enzymes that will aid in breaking down buildup on your Border Collie’s teeth.

You should also consider taking them to the vet for professional teeth cleaning. Experts recommend doing this every year for maintenance.

This will not only help in keeping their teeth squeaky clean. But it will also allow you to catch any dental issues early to prevent them from worsening.

Why Do Border Collies Have Bad Teeth?

Border Collies have bad teeth due to the lack of oral hygiene. Misaligned teeth or overbites are not the cause of dental diseases. Instead, it is because they do not have a thorough and regular toothbrushing routine.

Without one, you allow plaque, tartar, and bacteria to build up on their teeth. This is the beginning of dental diseases that make your furry friend’s teeth bad.

When this buildup reaches their gums, your Border Collie will develop gingivitis. This wreaks havoc on their gums, making them inflamed. It can also lead to serious and painful infections.

Here are the symptoms of gingivitis to watch out for:

  • Red Gums
  • Bleeding Gums During Brushing
  • Bad Breath

Gingivitis is only the first stage of dental disease. It is still reversible since it only affects the gums. No damage to the teeth structure has occurred yet.

So you can still save your Border Collie’s teeth if they have gingivitis. But if this progresses to the next stages, the damage is irreversible.

Stage 2 of periodontal disease now affects the tooth structure. Your Border Collie will lose about 25% of its tooth structure. You may also notice that their gums are receding this early.

In stage 3 of periodontal disease, the percentage of tooth structure lost increases to 25 to 50%. There will be moderate gum recession, which is irreversible damage.

Stage 4 of periodontal disease is the most severe of all. You will be able to see the root of their tooth, along with pus around their teeth. It is also at this stage that their teeth loosen and may fall off. This is because there is already significant damage to their teeth’s supporting structure.

The final stage of periodontal disease will cause behavioral changes in your dog. This includes the following:

  • Not Tolerating Brushing Due to Pain
  • Not Allowing You to Inspect Their Teeth
  • Altered Chewing
  • Reluctance to Chew
  • Appearing Withdrawn
  • Aggression

When Do Border Collies Get Their First Shots?

Border Collie puppies get their first vaccines at around 6 to 8 weeks of age. Some get theirs as early as 5 weeks of age. Since you usually take them home at 8 weeks old, most good breeders will give them their first vaccine.

Then once you take them home, the responsibility falls onto you. Your Border Collie will need to complete a series of vaccines. Once they have, they will only need boosters when they are adults.

What Vaccinations Do Border Collies Need?

Your Border Collie needs a variety of vaccines. These protect them from contagious and life-threatening diseases. They will need to take each of these at different ages as well:

  • 6 to 8 Weeks of Age: Distemper and Parvovirus
  • 10 to 12 Weeks of Age: DHPP for distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus.
  • 16 to 18 Weeks of Age: DHPP and Rabies
  • 12 to 16 Months of Age: DHPP and Rabies

After these, your Border Collie will need boosters for some vaccines. They should get DHPP vaccines every 1 to 2 years. While they will need a rabies booster every 1 to 3 years, which is required by law.

The vaccines above are the recommended ones. But you can also have them take some optional ones. This will depend on whether they need it or not, though.

So it is best to talk to your vet about whether your Border Collie needs these vaccines or not:

  • Bordetella
  • Leptospirosis
  • Influenza
  • Lyme Disease
  • Coronavirus

How Much Are Border Collie Vaccines?

On average, vaccines can cost you anywhere between $75 to $100. This price includes the recommended vaccines, including DHLPP. For rabies, the price is anywhere between $15 to $20.

This price depends on certain factors, though. In animal shelters, vaccines are cheaper and sometimes are even for free.

What Should I Expect After My Border Collie Gets Vaccinated?

You can expect your Border Collie to feel tired after getting their vaccine shots. Sometimes, they may refuse to eat as well. But worry not, these effects usually last for only about 48 hours.

More worrying side effects can happen as well, like swelling and hives. In some cases, Border Collies may even vomit.

If you see any of these more serious side effects, you should talk to your vet right away. They may prescribe your Border Collie with antihistamines to lessen the reactions.

Should I Vaccinate My Border Collie?

Whether you vaccinate your Border Collie or not, is your choice. But you need to make the best choice for your furry friend’s sake since this is their health.

But vaccines are necessary to protect your Border Collie from diseases. Most of which are highly contagious and life-threatening.

If they have this protection, they can play and frolic around anywhere without a care. Your Border Collie will be able to engage in activities that include other dogs. They can make other canine friends without risks, giving you peace of mind.

This includes the following:

  • Playing in Dog Parks
  • Dropping Them Off to Doggy Daycare
  • Enrolling Them in Puppy Classes
  • Take Them on Obedience Training
  • Registering Them in Kennel Clubs
  • Competing in Dog Sports

And as you can see, these are all fun activities that your Border Collie will enjoy. Other than improving their social skills, they can also show off their abilities. Whether it is their exceptional obedience or their athletic prowess.

So do not deprive your Border Collie of living a good life. Only you can call the shots, not them. Have them vaccinated so they can enjoy the simple things in life.

Is Pet Insurance Worth It for a Border Collie?

Most people, even vets, will tell you that pet insurance is worth it. Your Border Collie’s health is unpredictable. In emergencies, you may find yourself shelling out a big amount of money.

But if you have health insurance, this will lessen your costs. So you will not have second thoughts about getting them the care that they need.

Pet insurance is not only for your Border Collie’s sake. It can also help you save money when your furry friend needs medical attention.

But getting pet health insurance is a big responsibility to take. It also does not come cheap, depending on the coverage you take.

To help you decide, here are some instances where pet insurance can help.

It Can Cover Wellness Costs

This vastly depends on your insurance provider. Some will cover this, while others will not.

But wellness costs include your Border Collie’s vaccines, dental costs, and regular tests. So in general, these are your Border Collie’s routine costs. Some insurance providers also call this preventative care.

Some insurance providers will also include alternative therapies. This includes hydrotherapy, acupuncture, chiropractic care, and more.

It Can Cover Accidents

This coverage is crucial for Border Collies. They are active dogs that thrive in an environment that encourage their athleticism. But this is even more important in Border Collies who work or compete in dog sports.

Physical injuries, car accidents, poisoning, and more are all covered. This way, they can receive immediate care without you worrying about the costs.

It Can Cover Unexpected Illnesses

This can cover any changes to your Border Collie’s normal health condition. New diseases, illnesses, and injuries are also covered. Your insurance provider may include surgery costs, the diagnostic test, and the medications needed.

So those are what pet insurance can help you with. Other than that, you also have to consider the level of coverage.

These levels are often named basic, enhanced, and even premium. The lowest level is the most inexpensive, but also provides the lowest coverage.

You can opt to get a plan only for accidents, in case your Border Collie gets into accidents. There are accident-illness plans, which also include unexpected illnesses.

The most comprehensive plan includes accidents, illnesses, and even welfare coverage. But as you can expect, this is also the most expensive one.

How Much Is It to Insure a Border Collie?

Pet insurance for your Border Collie will cost you anywhere between $27 to $88 per month. Your costs could be on the lower or higher end depending on the following:

  • Your Location
  • Your Coverage
  • Your Border Collie’s Age
  • Your Insurance Provider
  • Your Financial Standing

What Is the Lifespan of a Border Collie?

Border Collies can live anywhere between 10 and 17 years of age. Some can live longer lives, one Border Collie lived up to 25 years of age. But their average lifespan is around 12 to 15 years.

As you can see, Border Collies live long lives as long as you take care of them. But various health issues can shorten your Border Collies life. Unfortunately, most of these are genetically inherited.

Your Border Collie’s breeder plays a big part in this. Reputable breeders see to it that they produce quality puppies. They do this by checking for the parents’ health history before breeding.

Unhealthy parents produce unhealthy puppies. But this is not the only factor to consider.

The environment your breeder provides their puppies with also matters. Good breeders will take action right away if there is something wrong with their pup. If untreated, their puppy may suffer health consequences that affect them as adults. This will then shorten your Border Collie’s life.

So always check the health history of your Border Collie’s ancestry. You should also see their parents, especially their mother before you take them home.

And last, inspect their environment during visits. See how well they are being treated and how the pup interacts with the breeder. This will tell you a lot about their upbringing.

How Long Do Border Collies Live in Human Years?

This generally healthy breed can live up to 12 to 15 years of age on average. But many Border Collies, with proper care, can live up to 17 years of age and older.

Do Male or Female Border Collies Live Longer?

A dog’s gender has no significant effect on its longevity. But male dogs live slightly longer than females. This changes once they get spayed or neutered, though.

No matter the breed, female dogs often live longer lives than males when spayed. This goes for Border Collies too. This could be because male dogs are more prone to genetic health problems. So it is even more crucial to be picky with your breeder if you want a male Border Collie.

Various health issues shorten their lives. The most common ones are the following:

  • Neurological Disorders
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • Dental Diseases

Neurological Disorders

Border Collies are at high risk for canine epilepsy, which is recurring seizures. Unfortunately, the most common one in this breed is idiopathic epilepsy. In this type, the cause of their epileptic attacks is unknown.

With this, there is no cure for idiopathic epilepsy. But your Border Collie will need life-long medication to manage their seizures.

Musculoskeletal Disorders

There are a few of these that Border Collies are prone to. This includes hip and elbow dysplasia and osteochondritis dissecans, to name a few.

Border Collies can also suffer from intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). This is not known to be one of their inherited diseases. But they can develop this by damaging their discs during exercise.

Dental Disease

Border Collies are also not blessed to have perfect teeth, too. This makes them prone to developing dental diseases as a result of plaque and tartar buildup.

Periodontal disease not only causes them to have bad breath or lose their teeth. It also makes them susceptible to other health issues unrelated to their oral health. This includes heart diseases.

As a result, your Border Collie may die due to the complications of dental disease.

What Do Border Collies Die From?

The most common cause of Border Collie deaths is cancer, at about 23%. The next cause would be old age (17%) and then cerebral diseases (9.4%).

They may also die due to other health issues that are common in this breed. This includes hip dysplasia and patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). With this, you should be extra careful in examining a dog’s bloodline before buying them.

Reputable breeders will do health screenings for their Border Collie puppies. Below are the tests they need and what specific disease you should test for.

  • Musculoskeletal Diseases: Degenerative Myelopathy
  • Neurologic Diseases: Multidrug Resistance
  • Ophthalmologic Diseases: Collie Eye Anomaly
  • Immunological Diseases: Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome
  • Metabolic Diseases: Cobalamin Malabsorption
  • Haemolymphatic Diseases: Grey Collie Syndrome

How to Keep a Border Collie Healthy

There are many ways to keep your Border Collie healthy from the inside and out. It comes as no surprise, but most of these are only their basic care. This includes their diet, exercise needs, and more.

With proper and consistent care, your furry friend can live a long and happy life with you. Below is a guide on how you can do this.

Proper Diet

Make sure to give them high-quality food packed with the nutrients that they need. The most essential ingredient in their diet is protein and so it should make up most of their meals. Avoid low-quality food that contains fillers, your Border Collie does not need these.

Be careful in giving them table scraps as well, no matter how they beg. Most human foods are bad for your furry friend. Oftentimes, they contain too much fat which can hurt their health.

If your Border Collie has food allergies, make sure that you do not feed them their allergens as well. Otherwise, this can affect their skin, making it itchy.

A good diet also considers meal portions. Give them the appropriate size for their age. Too much or too little affects their weight and also their health.

Regular Grooming

Grooming your Border Collie is a huge part of taking care of them. This includes the following:

  • Coat Brushing
  • Toothbrushing
  • Ear Cleaning
  • Nail Trimming
  • Bathing

Other than the last one, you should do all these frequently. Neglecting any of these can lead to bigger issues, which can have a nasty outcome.

Coat brushing, for example, is crucial in keeping them free of tangles and mats. Otherwise, these can irritate your poor Border Collie’s skin, causing hotspots. Their skin can become inflamed, creating open wounds, and may lead to infections.

In grooming your Border Collie, you will have to use products to keep them clean and tidy. Not all products are safe for your Border Collie, though. Some may even harm them.

Harsh shampoo or human shampoo, for example, can irritate their skin. This can lead to painful and itchy skin that they pick on until they get wounds. So make sure to use natural and dog-safe products.

Another thing that you should focus on is their oral hygiene. One of the common causes of Border Collie deaths is due to dental diseases. And this breed is prone to developing periodontal disease, which is worrying.

So make sure to give their teeth thorough brushing every day. If this is not possible, you should aim to brush their teeth at least thrice a week. Plaque and tartar can host a lot of serious medical issues, even ones not related to their teeth.

Plenty of Physical and Mental Stimulation

Border Collies are the perfect blend of brains and brawn. So if you chose to get this breed, you should allow plenty of time for them. This breed needs a lot of physical and mental exercise to use up its overflowing energy.

If you do not, this can have a big effect on their psychological health. Their behavior will change, they will appear depressed, and more.

Border Collies love to do a variety of tasks. And if you have work for them, this is much better. They thrive best in environments where they always have something to do.

If you are a sporty person, why not take your Border Collie with you? They can be your running buddy or hiking buddy. You can even have them with you on a marathon!

Given their athleticism, Border Collies will also thrive competing in dog sports. This breed is widely known in the field of agility. But they can also excel in herding trials, which is a perfect dog sport for them.

Their mental stimulation is as important as well. Although those activities mentioned above are great for their minds, you may want to shake it up a bit.

Teaching your Border Collie new commands is a great way to do this. It may seem like they are not doing much, but this is very taxing on them. After a good teaching session, they will likely doze off happily.

Regular Trips to the Vet

An active breed like Border Collies should see a vet more often than other lazier breeds. This breed is more prone to accidents resulting in injuries and even trauma. And given that they put their bodies through so much work, they may develop other health issues.

This breed is already prone to musculoskeletal issues. Unfortunately, their active lifestyle can exacerbate or cause certain musculoskeletal diseases. This includes hip dysplasia, osteochondritis dissecans, and intervertebral disc disease.

And the key to a better outcome for them is to treat the disease as early as you can. Otherwise, your Border Collie may need surgery, and this is not a sure way of curing them of these diseases.

The success rate of surgeries can even go down the longer you wait. But frequent visits to the vet will help you with this.

Maintain Their Weight

Border Collies are prone to obesity, which may surprise many people. Dogs who suffer from this tend to live shorter lives. This is because obesity makes them prone to several serious health issues.

Common ones include the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Overheating
  • Chronic Pancreatitis

In Border Collies, this can even lead to or worsen hip dysplasia and IVDD. This is because the excess weight on their body puts excess pressure on their joints.

Consider Keeping Them Indoors

Dogs who live indoors live longer lives than those who live outdoors. Your Border Collie is no exception to this. The reason for this is that outdoor dogs are more prone to developing several health issues.

So although Border Collies can live outdoors, it may be best to keep them indoors instead. They will love this too since this pack animal loves to stay close to their family at all times.

But if there is a need for them to live outdoors, make sure you provide them with a comfortable shelter. This should be clean and enough to protect them from harsh weather.

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DOG TRAINING EQUIPMENT CHECKLIST

10 Essential Tools Every Dog Owner Must Have to Teach Their Furry Friend Obedience and Proper Manners

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