Paw Print Genetics is a proud sponsor of the US Border Collie Handlers Association. With their Sheepdog Finals next month, it is a good time to think about genetic issues and whether to breed your dog.
Although generally considered a relatively healthy breed, like other purebred dogs, the border collie is at risk to inherit several genetic diseases. Testing your dog prior to breeding prevents the disease through avoidance of producing puppies at-risk. This brief article describes a few of the diseases that can currently be tested for in border collies. Click here to find a complete list of tests for border collies.
Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) can vary from mild to severe; mild cases have normal vision, while severely affected dogs can have retinal detachments, malformation of the eye, and blindness. Unfortunately it is not possible to predict the severity of clinical signs based upon the severity of an affected parent. About 2% of border collies tested at Paw Print Genetics are affected with this disorder.
Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome (TNS) is a disease of the immune system that prevents affected dogs from producing an adequate amount of neutrophils (a type of white blood cell). Affected dogs commonly present at a young age with a variety of infections, learning disabilities, and an overall inability of the puppy to thrive, including poor growth, skin infection, weight loss, diarrhea, and/or vomiting. About 7% of border collies tested by Paw Print Genetics are found to be carriers of this condition.
Intestinal Cobalamin Malabsorption (IGS) results in the inability to produce adequate amounts of a protein that plays an essential role in absorption of the B vitamin, cobalamin. Affected dogs often show signs of anorexia, intermittent diarrhea, lethargy, poor weight gain, poor muscle mass, and anemia. Affected dogs require cobalamin supplementation for life. About 14% of border collies tested at Paw Print Genetics are found to be carriers of IGS.
Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is a late-onset neurological disease found in over 100 breeds of dog. Known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in humans, affected dogs typically begin to show signs of neurological weakness in the hind limbs around 7-10 years of age. Dogs then lose the ability to walk 6 months to 2 years after first clinical signs. About 2% of border collies tested at Paw Print Genetics are carriers. No at-risk dogs have been identified to date.