Sheltie Health

Health Issues in Shetland Sheepdogs

Although the Shetland Sheepdog is relatively free from major health problems, you should be aware of a few issues.

Shelties can be affected by the hereditary eye problems CEA & GPRA. A paper on the subject can be downloaded from our Downloads pages or click here

In recent years, the Club has conducted three eye testing sessions at our Championship Shows. The session in 2012 was arranged primarily to ascertain the incidence of General Progressive Retinal Atrophy (GPRA) in the Breed in the UK. 52 dogs over the age of three years (the majority, over five years old) were tested and no cases of GPRA were discovered.

The Club has since been advised that a singleton case of GPRA has been confirmed in a Sheltie in the UK by a BVA panellist. Whilst an isolated case should not be seen as a cause for alarm, the Club is keen to try and better understand whether there is a greater occurrence of this condition than the existing testing programme would appear to suggest. The Club held an eye testing session at our Championship Show on Saturday, 10th October 2015. 30 dogs over the age of five years were tested and no cases of GPRA were discovered. DNA was taken from dogs over the age of 8 for research purposes.

More information about GPRA can be found here.

Hip Dysplasia has been know to affect some Shelties. A number of breeders are now getting their breeding stock hip scored.

Shelties can suffer adverse reactions to an anti-parasitic drug called Ivermectin. It has been discovered that some breeds of dog, mainly, but not exclusively varieties of Collie, are unable to produce a protein which is essential for pumping drugs and toxins out of the central nervous system. Ivermectin is just one of several drugs which are now known can cause this reaction and the condition is generally referred to as MDR1 because the protein responsible is known as the Multi-Drug Resistance protein. MDR1 is not a disease and as long as a dog with the sensitivity is not exposed to any of the dangerous drugs then it will not be at risk of a reaction. A comprehensive article was published in issue 120 of the Nutshell. The article was updated in January 2013 and is available here or from our Downloads pages.

Dermatomyositis (DM or FCD) is an extremely serious, but fortunately rare, skin disease which can affect Shelties. You can download a copy of a paper, originally given by Mrs Marion Withers at the Club's Annual General Meeting in 2004 and updated in January 2010, from our Downloads pages or click here. Please note that this paper contains photographs of some dogs affected by this condition, which some of you may find disturbing. Larger images of these photographs can be viewed from the Downloads pages or click here.

The ESSC is a member of the Pastoral Breeds Health Foundation which is actively fundraising & promoting research into health issues and promoting health testing of Pastoral Breeds. Their website has a lot of useful information which you can find here

Contact Details

Scenic Rim, QLD, Australia
Phone : 0754638216 - 0439093702
Email : [email protected]