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The sheltie is a common breed that’s been around for centuries and originated from Scotland, specifically the secluded Shetland islands. In the past, these dogs were bred for herding, and despite their small size, they were effective for herding large animals and getting work done around farms and ranches. While shelties are great dogs, you need to be aware of their health issues before you consider caring for them.

The good news is that being prepared can make a big difference and even add years to your sheltie’s life. Read on to learn more about sheltie health issues and how you can manage them.

What Is a Sheltie?

Shelties are sheepdogs that originated from Scotland. You may also know them as Shetland sheepdog because they come from the rugged and secluded Shetland island. They’re about 13-16 inches tall at the shoulder and have a long coat that’s meant to deal with the harsh weather of Shetland.

Shelties are recognizable by their long snout as well as their white, tan, and fawn coats. Typically, a healthy sheltie will live for around 10-13 years if you feed them the right diet, help them exercise, and visit the vet.

The Most Common Sheltie Health Issues

Shelties are a healthy breed and have been studied for many years. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t face any health issues. In fact, according to Dog Academy, some sheltie health issues are specific to the breed, so keep this in mind as you raise them. For example, they may have a heightened risk for birth defects like patent ductus arteriosus or sheltie eye syndrome.

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That said, you also have to worry about health issues that are common in other medium-sized dog breeds as well. Some of the most common sheltie health issues are listed below:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Von Willebrand disease
  • Heart disease
  • Digestive issues
  • Dental health problems
  • Hearing problems
  • Obesity

We cover some of the lesser-known and more breed-specific health issues in more detail below.

Von Willebrand Disease

Von Willebrand Disease can happen with any breed but it’s common in shelties. This disease causes an issue with the dog’s blood clotting protein. Unfortunately, this disease can turn small wounds into major health problems because they won’t stop bleeding or close properly. What’s more, internal bleeding can occur and result in internal hemorrhaging and death.

Epilepsy

Shelties are known for having an increased risk of epilepsy. What causes this heightened risk isn’t well-known but it does happen in some sheltie puppies and adults. This can be discovered at an early age and there are treatments available. Still, make sure you monitor your sheltie’s health to avoid any epileptic complications.

Patent Ductus Arteriosus

Many dogs are susceptible to heart problems as they grow older but the sheltie is susceptible to a unique condition known as patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). This condition is something that will impact their lives at birth because it develops when two parts of the heart don’t close properly. This condition is often fatal so most shelties up for adoption shouldn’t have this problem.

Collie Eye or Sheltie Eye Syndrome

Another common condition that can impact a sheltie is sheltie eye syndrome, otherwise known as collie eye syndrome. It’s something that develops in the womb and prevents the eyes from growing and developing properly. Unfortunately, it can result in blindness and it’s not usually reversible.

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How You Can Prevent Sheltie Health Issues

Sheltie health Issues don’t always have to be problematic. For example, the American Kennel Club recommends having them tested with a hip evaluation and ophthalmologist evaluation to ensure that their hips and eyes are healthy. The other steps that you can take to prevent sheltie health issues include bringing them to the vet once per year, ensuring that they’re eating a diet made for medium-sized dogs, and helping them get plenty of exercise.

It’s also important to note that shelties may have some drug-resistant genes, like MDR1 mutation, which makes them allergic or resistant to some drugs. We also recommend testing your sheltie for Von Willebrand Disease at an early age.

Adopt a Sheltie Today

Shelties are great companions and they can live a long and healthy life. You don’t have to worry about too many health issues but make sure you schedule annual appointments with your vet to ensure that you monitor their health and catch anything early. Plus, ensuring that they eat a healthy diet, exercise, and get plenty of love will go a long way in helping your sheltie live a long and healthy life.

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