shetland sheepdog breed information

common health issues

von Willebrand's Disease is a blood clotting defect. There are three subcategories of the disease that vary in severity, and a blood test is available to measure the amount of von Willebrand factor (which aids with clotting) in the blood. This is recommended in all susceptible breeds prior to surgery to prevent possibly fatal consequences.

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.

Inherited deafness in one or both ears occurs due to the degeneration of the structures of the inner ear. It usually occurs within the first few weeks of birth. Deafness is tied to coat color, especially in merle pups, and has an association with blue eyes. Hearing tests can be conducted at referral centers or veterinary schools, but inherited deafness is permanent and cannot be cured.

In the mild form of CEA, there is little effect on sight, but seven percent of dogs with CEA have detachment of the retina, leading to blindness. The best way to avoid CEA is to purchase a Collie from parents registered with the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) who have never had affected puppies.

Fanconi Syndrome is a defect in the tubules of the kidneys, leading to decreased resorption of water, sugar, minerals and amino acids. Loss of these substances leads to electrolyte imbalances and dehydration. Symptoms include increased water intake and urination between one and seven years of age, and may be managed medically for years or may progress rapidly to kidney failure. Treatment aims to control the symptoms of kidney disease.

The Shetland Sheepdog is a long-haired working dog that traces back to the Border Collie of Scotland. After being transported to the Shetland Islands, the Border Collie was crossed with smaller, intelligent long-haired breeds. These dogs were eventually crossed with Collies, creating the gentle, loyal breed we’ve come to know as the "Sheltie".

Shelties were originally used for herding and watching over flocks of sheep in the Shetland Islands. Shelties make wonderful family dogs, but they tend to be shy around strangers. Their herding instinct is strong, therefore they have a tendency to bark at and herd people and other animals. Due to their high energy level, Shelties like to be kept busy and daily exercise can keep excessive barking and herding at bay. Shelties are highly trainable, intelligent and agile, making them ideal for obedience, agility and herding trials.

Although this spunky breed is adaptable – they are just as comfortable roaming the farm as they are living in an apartment (as long as they are given ample exercise time)! – they are still 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 Shetland Sheepdogs are prone to include eye issues such as Collie Eye Anomaly and cataracts; skin and muscle problems such as dermatomyositis; blood diseases such as Von Willebrand’s disease; kidney problems such as Fanconi Syndrome; and ear conditions such as deafness.

Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Shetland Sheepdog inherits more than just his dad’s strong herding skills or his mom’s spunky attitude, 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)