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
There is a DNA test for CEA(CH) but this is not a substitute for
physical eye examination of puppies at 6 weeks old, which will also
identify other eye problems such as coloboma and distichiasis. Both can
also be hereditary.
It has been discovered recently that there are two variants of GPRA in
Shelties; CNGA1 and BBS2. Both can cause blindness. CNGA1 is early onset
and BBS2 is late onset. Both can be identified by regular eye
examination and there are DNA tests for both conditions.
Hip Dysplasia has been known 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
also find this article
about dental issues interesting.
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.