The Shetland Sheepdog, more commonly known as the Sheltie, looks like a miniature collie. These dogs have a long, dense fur coat similar to the collie’s black, brown and white coloring. Shelties are agile and alert which makes them highly trainable for herding and obedience competitions. Sharing a history with the border collie, Shelties were bred to work on the farm, protecting the herds as well as the home. Today’s Sheltie still exhibits some of these protective tendencies which, combined with their loyalty and gentle demeanor, makes them an excellent family pet. Though their dense, double coats require regular grooming and maintenance, many owners find the work well worth the pleasure of owning one of these intelligent, devoted companions.
Though Shelties are generally a healthy breed, they are prone to becoming overweight because their dense coat makes it difficult to gauge the dog’s actual size. Excess weight can put a strain on joints and bones which may lead to the development of health problems. As a breed, Shelties are susceptible to several conditions including joint problems, scleral ectasia and Von Willebrande’s disease. Pet insurance may help you cover treatment and medications for these conditions.
Though these conditions are no more common in Shelties than in other breeds, Shelties may develop patellar luxation and hip dysplasia. Patellar luxation is a condition in which the patella, or knee cap, slips out of the femoral groove. Surgical repairs can be done on the joints for between $1,200 and $4,000. Hip dysplasia is diagnosed in dogs whose hip joints become loose or worn, leading to arthritis and lameness. Total hip replacement surgeries to correct this problem can cost between $1,500 and $3,000 per hip and surgical repairs to the joints can be done for around $2,500 for both hips.
Also called Collie Eye or Sheltie Eye syndrome, scleral ectasia is a condition in which the eyes do not develop properly in the womb. This genetic problem can lead to impaired vision due to a detached retina or loss of retinal cells. There is currently no treatment for this condition and most professional breeders take pains to selectively breed against it.
Von Willebrand’s Disease
This disease is genetically inherited and it affects more than fifty breeds, though Shelties are among the breeds most prone. Von Willebrand’s disease is a hereditary bleeding disorder which prevents blood from clotting properly. Common symptoms of this condition include nosebleeds, bloody stool and bleeding gums. Many dogs with this disease bleed to death following surgery or injury because the wound does not clot properly to prevent further blood loss. There is no cure for this disease and testing is still going on for drugs that may help to counteract the effects of the disorder.
Disclaimer: Symptoms, conditions, and costs may vary. Consult a licensed veterinarian to inquire about treatment options and cost of care for your particular situation. Check actual coverage and benefits for your dog to determine whether you will be covered by pet insurance.