Two months ago I lost my wonderful tri-colored collie one month shy of his 11th birthday. He was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder (canine lupus) at aged 7, and despite the best of care, he eventually succumbed to its complications. He was also diagnosed with bad skin allergies at aged 2, and I had been treating him for those issues as well.
This dear boy had replaced my other collie, a beautiful, sweet sable and white boy, who died at aged 11. This collie also had problems with food and skin allergies his entire life. He also developed neuromuscular symptoms that made it difficult for him to walk at the end of his life.
I adore collies, but I would hesitate to get another one because of the heartbreaking problems that developed with my boys. I was told by the vet specialist that treated my tri-color collie that canine lupus is more common in collies than other breeds.
Both my collies were from totally different breeders and did not share any bloodlines.
I was just interested in hearing from other collie owners about any health problems they have experienced with their dogs.
Are you feeding the same foods? I swear, back before they had all the different brands of foods, dogs and cats seemed to live forever on table scraps with a can of Alpo.
Sorry - you asked for other Collie owners experiences. I didn't read for comprehension.
I can't really give experiences, just want to say I have an English Shepherd, a.k.a. an Old Fashioned Farmcollie. I am not terribly knowledgeable about the breed, but since they are bred to be working dogs (they are not AKC registered, but the breeders are very serious about the breed) they might be something for you to look into. There are a few websites; one is nesr.info.
I am sorry you lost your dogs but 11 is a good age for a pretty big dog. You must have taken great care of them.
Honestly....all dogs come up with complications as they start to get older, no matter what breed they are. I mean...just think about it. How many dogs do you hear about that just peacefully passed in their sleep? Out of the 20-something that I've had in my lifetime (we're a multi-dog household, always, and end up with a lot of older rescues) all but two had to be put down. Those two were old as dirt, and just didn't wake up one morning. The rest came down with cancers/lumps and bumps/kidney diseases/all sorts of other ailments.
It's the same with cats. Foods/standards of care/etc don't seem to matter much....they just get old, and things start shutting down/causing problems. It's very sad, and a fact of life for a pet owner. I would never let it stop me from getting another animal, no matter how heartbreaking it is, though.
I've lost many animals in my relatively short life so far, and I've cried each and every time. I still cry about my heart-cat who I lost last summer to kidney failure. But the years of companionship are worth the pain at the end, always.
Collies do get Discoid Lupus Erythematousus ("Collie nose") and also are known to get Dermatomyositis. I can say for the most part can be managed, but not "cured". I really like them as a breed, but when they get sick, they get unusual things. Those unusual things do not respond like they are supposed to. I know that is a gross generalization, but it is my opinion FWIW...
The way I look at it, you pick your breed, you pick your problem.
I got my first Collie three months ago and she's been absolutely wonderful. All dogs--mutts and purebreds--have genetic issues. That said, if you buy from a reputable breeder you can (hopefully) discuss problems specific to the breed, see genetic testing results, and enhance your chances of getting a healthy dog. It helps, too, to be able to see other "family members" both for health and temperament reasons. When I visited, my puppy's great-aunt was racing around the yard at age 13.
So far, no health problems with my girl--though she's only five months old, LOL. I wouldn't hestitate to recommend the breeder I got her from. PM me if you want the info.
My sister has had rough collies for over thirty years, and not once has one died of any weird neurological disease. Just regular old age/kidney failure. I think you have had two very random and unfortunate coincidences.
I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry
My Sadie is going to be 8 this year, she's a tri color too. No health problems other than trying to keep the extra weight off her. I raised a few litters of Collie pups over the years, and most of my pups sold to families looking for a new Collie as they'd just lost their old dog- you'd be surprised (I sure was!) to hear that many of these dogs were 15 or so years old, (and one had passed away at 17!). Maybe it's different genetics, maybe it's different care/food/etc, but definitely a varience in lifespan.
Thanks for all your thoughtful responses. I do realize that each purebred breed comes with its own unique issues. I've had several dogs over my lifetime--a small mixed breed girl that lived to be 14, a golden that sadly died at 9 years of CHF, a field english setter that lived to be almost 17 years, and the two collies. I have been blessed by the presence of all these wonderful dogs in my life, however short that presence was (meaning it's never long enough!).
I guess I was just struck how both my collies developed bad allergies that required allergy shots, as well as prednisone and antibiotics for bad flare-ups their entire lives. Also, the vets never could determine what caused the muscle weakness and eventual death of my first collie. He also had periodic strange seizure-like episodes involving his hind end for most of his life.
I do believe collies are more susceptible to certain autoimmune disorders, and are more sensitive to certain medications. When my second collie (the one who recently died) developed his severe autoimmunie disorder at 7 (just turned 7), we thought we might lose him. He could barely walk, his gums were inflamed, he had a fever, and was very lethargic and weak. With help from a great vet (and certain immune-suppressing meds), he made pretty much a full recovery. At the time, the vet remarked that most collies don't make such a good recovery from this serious an illness. Even with medication, I guess it was inevitable that the illness would rear it's ugly head again. At almost 11 years, various systems just started going haywire, and on December 9, 2009 we lost him.
It's nice to know that there are collies out there that don't have these problems!! And LoriB, your girl is adorable! I have always loved the blue merle collies.
Thanks again for all your kind thoughts and comments.
There will be dogs in my life again--may be a collie or collie mix, or two!
We have a mainly white rough coat collie (big black spots on either side) with a tri-color face. She's 3+ years and except for the big white tumbleweeds blowing through my house, she's great! I am going to read up on what idlemoon posted about, however.