Collie and Sheltie Health

Additional Information


Canine Influenza is here...AND is a highly contagious viral infection affecting dogs and it can lead to the dog's death. Pay attention if your collie or sheltie goes out in public, to a dog park, a day care facility, a kennel, or in general is in close proximity to other dogs that have been to this location. It's symptoms are like "kennel cough' but it is far more dangerous. For more information about this reasonably newly identified threat, go to

The MDR1 Gene...

At least 70 percent of collies, more than any other breed, have the mutant MDR1 gene, which makes them vulnerable to the toxic effects of many commonly used drugs. Among them, acepromazine , a tranquilizer; butorphanol , a pre-anesthetic; erythromycin and rifampin, antibiotics; loperamide ( Imodium ), used to treat diarrhea; Doxorubicin, vinblastine and vincristine , anti-cancer drugs; and anti-parasitic drugs such as ivermectin , selamectin , milbemycin and moxidectin .

The test for the mutant MDR1 gene, available from Washington State University for $70, will tell you just how vulnerable your collie may be. All genes have two copies, one from each parent. Your collie could test “normal/normal” (no mutant gene); “normal/mutant” or “mutant/normal (one copy of the mutant gene); or “mutant/mutant” (two copies of the mutant gene, meaning your collie is at much higher risk).

In one study of unrelated collies, only 22 percent had no copies of the mutant gene; 42 percent had one copy, and fully 35 percent had two copies.

Given these numbers, it makes sense to find out your collie's status for the mutant gene. This simple test could save your collie's life. Testing a Dog for the MDR1 Mutation is Easy: Order a testing kit by contacting the Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory at Washington State University: or by phone 509-335-3745.

Xylitol, a natural sugar alcohol sweetener popular for its low glycemic index but known to cause hypoglycemia and hepatic necrosis in dogs, is now also found in several specialty peanut and nut butter brands. Nuts ‘n More, Krush Nutrition and P-28 Foods all make peanut butter and nut-based spreads containing the ingredient.Krush Nutrition's "Nutty by Nature" xylitol-containing peanut butter.

Though xylitol has been popping up in all kinds of foods and dental products in the last several years, peanut butter is a special concern, says Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS, DABT, DABVT, associate director of veterinary services for Pet Poison Helpline and SafetyCall International. “First, dogs fed straight peanut butter as a treat or fed treats baked with xylitol-containing peanut butter may certainly be at risk for harm,” she says. “Second, a dog that nabs the entire jar of xylitol-containing peanut butter and happily gorges on his or her treasure without anyone knowing could quickly become extremely ill. If this occurred during the day while the owners were not home, it’s possible the dog could die before people returned.”...

Learn More