old english sheepdog breed information

common health issues

In this life-threatening condition, the body's immune system attacks it's own red blood cells, leading to anemia (low levels of red blood cells). IMHA can be secondary to other diseases, but the majority of the cases occur with no known cause. Diagnosis and treatment are costly, and treatment usually requires a lengthy hospital stay.

Demodex canis mites live on all healthy dogs. In the vast majority of cases they never cause a problem. However, some breeds can pass on an immune defect to their offspring that can result in a generalized proliferation of Demodex mites. The most common signs of demodectic mange are hair loss, scaling and irritation of the affected skin.

The retina is responsible for transmitting light to the brain where it is interpreted as an image. PRA causes deterioration of retinal cells and causes blindness. It can affect puppies as young as a few weeks old, or may appear later in life. There is no treatment or cure, but blind dogs usually can lead quite happy lives.

Cataracts describes the transparency of the lens in the eye.While cataracts are a common finding in older dogs, many breeds, including Cavaliers, have a genetic predisposition to juvenile cataracts, i.e., occurring in young animals. Hereditary cataracts can occur as early as six months of age and progress to complete loss of vision by two years old. The good news is that most affected lenses can be treated surgically. Cost of treatment: $1,500 to $3,000 per lens.

The cells of the body need sugar to function and need insulin to carry sugar in through their walls. Diabetic animals do not have enough insulin to transport sugar into the cells, resulting in high blood sugar and starving cells. Treatment entails the lifelong administration of insulin shots, and usually requires frequent trips to the vet for rechecks.

Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition in which the ball and socket of the hip joint do not fit well together, resulting in a hip with increased laxity. This laxity can lead to degenerative changes and depending on the severity, may require surgical correction.

The Old English Sheepdog (OES) was developed in the 19th century in the western English counties of Devon and Somerset. The breeds that led to the OES are controversial – some people claim they descended from Scotch Bearded Collies, while others say it is the Russian Owtchar. Regardless of their ancestry, they were chiefly bred for herding sheep and cattle into city markets.

The OES makes a wonderful household pet. They love staying at home, and unlike other kinds of shepherding breeds, they do not tend to roam or fight. The OES has a calm demeanor and, despite his bulky appearance, is quite agile. Though originally the OES worked for drovers, they are easily trained as retrievers as well.

Their coats are shaggy and profuse, but are surprisingly easy to care for with weekly brushing. Old English Sheepdogs do well in most climates, as their coats provide insulation against both the cold and the heat. Like most other herding breeds, the OES needs some form of daily exercise. With their characteristic bear-like “shuffle” they are a joy to watch, whether they are chasing a toy or herding a flock of sheep.

However, these fluffy friends are prone to a number of hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect their health – not to mention your budget. Some of the conditions and illnesses they are prone to include eye conditions such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy; joint conditions such as hip dysplasia; skin conditions such as demodicosis; immune disorders such as immune-mediated hemolytic anemia; and metabolic conditions such as diabetes mellitus.

Thankfully, veterinary pet insurance from Petplan covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your OES inherits his mom’s bad skin or his dad’s bad eyes, you’re covered.

Use the condition checker tool to learn what common conditions your pet may have.

claim calculator

  • your share of the cost: $450
  • Petplan's reimbursement to you: $1,550
  • coverage remaining in policy period: Unlimited
    (full policy limits are reinstated upon renewal)