Immunity is a critical aspect that although is not genetically inherited in the true sense of the word it does have some inherited predisposition. Additionally, another aspect of immunity is the colostrum that is passed from the mother to the puppy within the first couple hours of birth. If the dog does not get enough colostrum from the mother the immunity will be jeopardized regardless of the parental impact the dog will be challenged and may have a poor immunity.
DR Farms makes every effort to ensure that each puppy is given the best chance for a strong and healthy life. As the delivery staff we supplement colustrum for the puppy at birth and ensure that each puppy gets priority seating with the mother. We also evaluate our breeding stock based upon the characteristics we can measure but immunity is one aspect that can be evaluated after the fact from the characteristics of the litter. We count on communication from our puppy owners so we can improve our breeding as well as aid each owner with issues that arise as the puppy becomes an adult.
We take every precaution to ensure that our animals have the best chances of producing quality animals and that our puppies have the best chance of reaching their fullest potential.
DR Farms accomplishes this by:
- Feeding high quality food for each age (Pedigree brand dog food),
- Having a Veterinarian as part of the animals ongoing health care,
- Ensuring all vaccinations are up to date,
- During breeding the mother is given additional vitamins,
- Puppies are placed on additional vitamins to boost their immunity when the begin weaning at approximately 25 days.
Dr Farms is very concerned about red mange that is associated with poor immunity issues. We work very hard to ensure that our dam and sire have the proper immunity and no history of mange. However, in the case of a puppy developing mange which often occurs around the 4th month we encourage you to communicate with your veterinarian as well as contact DR Farms. We will work with you to ensure that your Collie has the best chance of overcoming immunity issues.
1. Ophthalmologist evaluation:
Having a canine ophthalmologist examine the collie eyes will give a reliable determination to show if the collie is affected or normal for the CEA/CH gene. There are 5 varying grades of an affected dog:
- Torturous retinal vessels, extremely small areas of choroidal hypoplasia
- Torturous retinal vessels, substantial areas of choroidal hypoplasia
- Torturous retinal vessels, substantial areas of choroidal hypoplasia (blood vessel loss) with pits (colobomas) or areas of out pouching (ectasia) in the posterior segment
- All the above defects with a retinal detachment
- All the above defects with a retinal hemorrhage
2. Genetic Test:
The genetic test is used after the ophthalmology visit which has determined the dog is normal or affected. The value to DR Farms is to clarify that the animal is actually a normal-eyed dog by eliminating the carrier category. Since the ophthalmologist can only determine that the animal is normal-eyed or affected and leaves the genetic carrier classification not identified by the ophthalmologist the genetic test is the only way to further clarify the animals genetic status. The CEA/CH recessive gene which is located on the DNA chromosome #37 can be evaluated only by having a Veterinarian take blood and sending it to a genetic lab. DR Farms currently uses Optigen as the lab of choice which is currently the only lab performing the test. This test is only necessary if the dog is to be used in a future breeding program. Since as a carrier of the recessive gene there would be no health ramifications.
Although Collie Eye Anomaly can cause blindness in it's worst form, most of the affected animals fortunately are not visually impaired even though they are homogeneous recessive for the CEA gene. This is due primarily to the fact that it has been determined that the severity or grade of the affected animal is determined by another gene which has yet been determined. It should also be noted that this is not a progressive disease, what the dog is determined to be at 6 weeks of age is what they always will be throughout their life. DR Farms would like you to know that unless you are breeding your collie it will not matter to you as an owner unless they are grade 3, 4 or 5 Unfortunately 85% of the collies breed in the U.S. are affected by one of the 5 grades.
It is the desire of DR Farms to breed only normal-eyed homogeneous dominant collies for the CEA/CH gene however; I am also breeding other traits and it will take several litters and careful breeding to eliminate this undesirable trait and still maintain the other traits we are focusing on. More than 67% of the rough collies in the U.S. are affected or carriers of the CEA/CH gene. It is therefore more difficult to find a collie with homogeneous dominant for the CEA gene and with the other collie traits DR Farms is focused on breeding. Until that time however, I am completely up front with every owner to ensure that a complete understanding of the health of their companion is understood.
1. Julie Gionfriddo DVM, MS, DACVO
ACVO Genetics Committee/CEFT Liaison
2. OPTIGEN - Collie Eye Anomaly / Choroidal Hypoplasia
3. Understanding CEA and it's Inheritance
Val Brown ch. M.I.A.C.E. DBC. - Mertrisa Collies
Come back soon for updated information. Dr Farms is still gathering the information for this part of the collie health and genetics. None of our dogs have displayed any characteristics consistent with Hip Dysplasia.
It is well known that Collies and related breeds can have adverse reactions to drugs such as ivermectin, loperamide (Imodium®), and others. It was previously unknown why some individual dogs were sensitive and others were not. Advances in molecular biology at the Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory at Washington State University's College of Veterinary Medicine have led to the discovery of the cause of multi-drug sensitivity in affected dogs. The problem is due to a mutation in the multi-drug resistance gene (MDR1). This gene encodes a protein, P-glycoprotein, that is responsible for pumping many drugs and other toxins out of the brain. Dogs with the mutant gene can not pump some drugs out of the brain as a normal dog would, which may result in abnormal neurologic signs. The result may be an illness requiring an extended hospital stay--or even death.
A test has recently been developed at Washington State University to screen for the presence of the mutant gene*. Instead of avoiding drugs such as ivermectin in known susceptible breeds, veterinarians can now determine if a dog is normal, in which case the drug can be administered or abnormal, in which case an alternative treatment can be given.
Approximately 3 of every 4 Collies in the United States have the mutant MDR1 gene. The frequency is about the same in France and Australia, so it is likely that most Collies worldwide have the mutation. The MDR1 mutation has also been found in Shetland Sheepdogs (Shelties). Australian Shepherds, Old English Sheepdogs, German Shepherds, Long-haired Whippets, Silken Windhounds, and a variety of mixed breed dogs.
The only way to know if an individual dog has the mutant MDR1 gene is to have the dog tested. As more dogs are tested, more breeds will probably be added to the list of affected breeds.
There are many different types of drugs that have been reported to cause problems in Collies, ranging from over-the-counter antidiarrheal agents like Imodium® to antiparasitic and chemotherapy agents. It is likely this list will grow to include more drugs as our research progresses.
Drugs that have been documented, or are strongly suspected to cause problems in dogs with the MDR1 mutation:
Ivermectin (antiparasitic agent)
Loperamide (Imodium®; over-the-counter antidiarrheal agent)
Doxorubicin (anticancer agent)
Vincristine (anticancer agent)
Vinblastine (anticancer agent)
Cyclosporin (immunosuppressive agent)
Digoxin (heart drug)
Butorphanol (pain control)
Potential Problem Drugs:
The following drugs may potentially cause problems when given to dogs that have the mutation. Biochemical studies have shown that this gene has the potential to act on over 50 different drugs.
Explanation of test results:
Normal/Normal- These dogs do not carry the mutation, and will not pass on the mutation to their offspring. These dogs would not be expected to experience unexpected adverse drug reactions to normal doses of ivermectin, loperamide (Imodium®), and some anticancer drugs.
Mutant/Mutant- These dogs carry the mutation and will pass on the mutant gene to their offspring. These dogs would be expected to experience toxicity after normal doses of loperamide (Imodium®), and some anticancer drugs, and high doses of ivermectin (greater than 50 micrograms per kilogram).
Mutant/Normal- These dogs carry the mutation and may pass on the mutant gene to their offspring. These dogs may experience toxicity after normal doses of loperamide (Imodium®), and some anticancer drugs, and high doses of ivermectin (greater than 50 micrograms per kilogram).
DR Farms does not recommend that your Veterinarian administer Ivermec/Ivermectin to your Collie! DR Farms also does not recommend Heartguard as there are suitable substitutes such as Interceptor for your Collie. DR Farms have the parents tested for sensitivity which will give a piece of mind to the future owners as well as making it easier to make confident recommendations to our future owners.
1. Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine
Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory
PO Box 609
Pullman, WA 99163-0609
1. What is heat?
Heat is more properly called the estrous cycle. During this cycle, female dogs may get pregnant. It’s equivalent to human menstruation.
2. What are the symptoms?
Females bleed from the vagina sometimes with swelling of the vulva and increased urination. Don’t expect bleeding comparable to a human female.
For small dogs, it’s usually not much and you may need to pay close attention to your puppy to identify her first cycle. Other than the bleeding, the most noticeable symptom may be
male dogs hanging around your house.
3. When does a dog come into heat?
The average female dog has her first cycle about six months of age. A few dogs start earlier and few dogs later, even as late as 14-months.
If you have a new female puppy, you should watch her and note when she has her first cycle. If she’s 14-months old and still hasn't’t been in heat, you should take her to a veterinarian.
4. How long does the heat cycle last?
The average is three weeks or 21-days. In some dogs, it lasts only two weeks while others go four weeks.
5. How often will she be in heat?
Most female dogs have regular cycles usually every six to eight months. It’s quite typical to be in heat twice a year.
6. When can she get pregnant?
She can get pregnant only when in heat. Some breeders
test for progesterone levels to identify the most fertile days but the rule-of-thumb is that the most fertile days are 11-15 of her cycle.
Note – when she’s in heat, the average dog will permit any male
dog to mount her. Few females, however, will accept a male when
they’re not in heat.
7. Can she get pregnant her first cycle?
Yes. However, responsible breeders generally would not breed a dog that early. For one thing, you need to do genetic testing and some serious problems such as hip conditions do not show up until a dog is approximately 2-years of age.
8. Can I take her on walks during this cycle?
Yes with care. She has no problem with the exercise but she’s a walking magnet for male dogs.
Even the best trained and behaved female dog will succumb to hormones. You can’t trust her off a leash or out of your control. Never let her outside by herself even in a fenced yard if there is any possibility of male dogs nearby.
For walks, if there are male dogs in your neighborhood, it’s a good idea to take your dog in your car and drive to a remote area. Take her for the walk there and drive back home. Otherwise, the scent of her urine and vaginal discharge will blaze a trail to your home.
9. When I can have her spayed?
The answer to that one has changed continually over the
25-years I’ve been in the dog business. People used to be told to let their dog go through at least one cycle or let them have one litter.
Today, veterinarians are doing it much earlier. Some vets spay as early as 6-weeks of age! Talk to your veterinarian about your dog and the vet’s preferences. The state of veterinary medicine also is much improved over the past 25-years.
10. If I don’t have her spayed, will she go through menopause.
No. Her fertility may decline but she will not go through menopause comparable to a human’s. She won’t lose her ability to become pregnant even as a senior so if you don’t want to her to have any (or more) litters, she must be spayed.
One of the problems that many dog owners face is preventing unwanted pregnancy. If you own a male (also called a Sire), you may never know where your dog has sewn his “wild oats”. If you have a female (also called a Dam or a Bitch), you will certainly know about the pregnancy, especially when you suddenly find several puppies hiding under their mom's fur. While the responsibility to prevent improper pregnancy lies with owners of all dogs, it seems the majority of the work is on the part of the bitch’s owners.
To prevent (or encourage) pregnancy, it’s important to know when your dog can become pregnant. Your Dam can get pregnant during her “heat” cycle (or estrus). Dogs DO NOT go through menopause the way humans do. As they grow older they are less fertile, but it is possible for your older dog to become pregnant. Dogs typically have two heats per year. Each dog differs in length of heat, discharge amount, messiness, and personality changes. Watch your dog and learn her cycle. If you are a professional breeder, or someone considering breeding your dog, you should wait until your dog is in her third heat before breeding. She should be vet checked and up-to-date on her shots. Choose her mate carefully, focusing on improving your chosen breed. Request that he is vet checked and up-to-date on his shots as well.
There are four stages of the heat cycle.
1. Proestrus 2. Estrus 3. Diestrus 4. Anestrus
Your dog is not fertile during the first days of proestrus. But keep in mind that male sperm can live for several days. It’s important to watch her closely and consider buying some diapers or pants to protect her from mating with unwanted suitors. This can compromise your dogs health and the genetics of the puppies. There are several types of doggie diapers and pants available. OR you can get creative, and make some yourself. Using a diaper can prevent the staining of carpet and furniture.
It’s important to know when your dog it coming into heat and going out of heat. There are some clear signs and some subtle clues. Pay attention to your dog and learn her behavior. This will help you understand what’s going on when she 'does' come into heat.
1. Proestrus Stage
This stage of dog heat can last from 4-20 days. The average is 7-10 days. There are 3 common signs for a dog in heat during this stage:
This is one of the best ways to spot the beginning of a dog heat cycle. The swelling is a significant difference over her “normal” appearance. Her teats may also swell slightly, but this is not a great heat indicator and can be tricky to spot.
Your female may suddenly spend a lot of time licking herself. Take a tissue and wipe her vulva. If you notice red discharge, and her vulva is swollen, that’s a pretty good indicator that your dog is definitely coming into heat. It’s important to check this, since timing is everything when it comes to mating (or preventing a mating) your dog. The first day you notice the bloody discharge is called "DAY 1". Mark it on your calendar.
The third sign of heat is not found on your dog, but in the presence of other dogs. You may notice neighbor dogs hanging out around your house. They can smell your female's heat cycle. You may notice that your dog will tuck her tail often, protecting herself. She is not ready to accept a sire.
2. Estrus Stage
The Estrus Stage of the Dog Heat Cycle typically last from 5-14 days. The time your dog is fertile (her actual heat). At this stage, the discharge typically changes from red to straw colored. In many dogs it’s still somewhat pink, but you will notice a definite difference in color from the beginning of proestrus. This change usually occurs around day 8 or 9. Your dog will also be willing to accept a sire during this stage. She will switch her tail to the side. She may whimper and try to be outside more often than is normal for her. She is following her instinct to breed. Keep a close eye on her. Even if she is in a kennel, she can still end up pregnant.
Dogs get VERY creative during this stage. If you notice strange males in your yard, stay away from them. Bring your dog inside and wait for them to leave. When males are anxious to breed, they can be much more likely to bite. Don’t take your female to the pet store or the dog park. You can inadvertently cause problems that you really don’t want. It’s best just to keep her secluded to your yard and home. We have even seen a male sire impregnate a bitch through the holes in a chain link fence - so be very protective and cautious. Otherwise, you are going to be ordering DNA testing kits.
Here is a whelping calculator that will calculate a due date based on the date of your first breeding, and uses the standard of a 63 day gestation period.
3. Diestrus Stage
The Diestrus Stage of the Dog Heat Cycle usually begins around day 24. This stage can last from 60-90 days. Your dog is no longer fertile at this point. Her discharge will change from straw colored to red and then stop completely. She still has a scent and can still attract unwanted attention, so wait until she has completely stopped bleeding before venturing into public places.
4. Anestrus Stage
This is the fourth and final stage of the dog heat cycle when your dog is “normal”. This stage last about 60-90 days, at the end of which, the entire heat cycle starts again.
In conclusion, pay attention to your dog. Watch her dog heat signs. Know where she is at all times to prevent unwanted suitors from mating with your dog. Have her vet checked and be sure that you are willing to go through all the work necessary to raise puppies BEFORE breeding her. If you have a male dog and have no interest in using him as a stud dog, please consider neutering.
1. Her vulva, genital area, will be more slightly swollen, than it would be after her estrus period has ended.
2. Her teats, or nipples, will become more pronounced and hard.
3. Her temperament will change, she should be less puppyish. She maybe quieter, more lazy and want more attention. Being quieter, is a wolf trait. A pregnant female is more vulnerable, and it pays to be less conspicuous.
4. Two weeks after mating, there might even be bouts of morning sickness, which will last a week or so. Some dogs are prone to spit up yellow bile in the morning if their stomachs are empty.
If you have mated the dog 2 - 3 times successfully, and got your estrus dates correct, and the items above are prevalent, the dam is probably pregnant. Your vet will wait around 30 days before he / she can examine the stomach of the dog and tell for sure that the dog is pregnant.
You might be able to do this, but be gentle. Lay your dog on her side, if you are right-handed she should be facing right, and her head away from you. Slide your left-hand slightly beneath her around her middle, and place your right-hand over her abdomen, just below her ribs. Gently squeeze your hands together and feel for little golf balls, these are, we hope, puppies. With some gentle practise, you will be able to count the puppies, but do not stress the dog at all.
5. In the 4th week you may notice a muscle thickening of her sides, between her ribs and hip bone.
6. In the 5th week her abdomen may swell sufficiently to show that she is pregnant, similar to a human pregnancy. Some bigger dogs carry the pups high up in the rib cage, thus not showing so much, and it might not be so easy to notice.
7. In the 6th week most dogs will show, and she will be visibly pregnant. There maybe clear, or even slightly bloody discharge somewhere in the last couple of weeks. The discharge also has the consistency of Vaseline and generally has no smell. If she is anything other than this, call your Vet. A discharge that is green or quite bloody, and smelling quite bad, definitely call your Vet.
8. A dog pregnancy lasts for about 9 weeks or about 62 days. By the 8th week you will be able to clearly feel the puppies moving about inside the mother's tummy.
The abnormal thickening (pyometra) of the uters' lining can occur in dogs at any age, although it is more common in dogs that are six years of age or older. Cystic endometrial hyperplasia, meanwhile, is a medical condition characterized by the presence of pus-filled cyst inside the dog's uterus, causing the endometrium to enlarge (also known as hyperplasia).
Prognosis is often positive for both conditions; however, if the dog's cervix is closed, it can be a life threatening condition requiring immediate medical attention.
These two conditions can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how pyometra and cystic endometrial hyperplasia affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.
Symptoms and Types
Signs may include:
Abdominal distention (from an enlarged uterus)
Vulvar (vaginal) discharge
Lack of appetite
One of the known causes of this condition in dogs is repeat exposure to estrogen and progesterone. The formation of cystic endometrial hyperplasis is often progressive, often following the development of a thickened uterine lining.
Intact older female dogs that have never given birth are at a higher risk of developing pyometra or cystic endometrial hyperplasia.
Your veterinarian will perform an examination to review the type and severity of your dog’s discharge, as well as to view whether the cervix is open or closed. X-rays and ultrasounds will be used detect the size of the uterus, and to determine if the dog is pregnant.
In many cases, treatment will be given on an outpatient basis. However, if the cervix is closed, the condition can be life threatening and immediate action will be required. The preferred treatment for this medical condition is a hysterectomy -- the removal of the dog's ovaries and uterus. Other options are available, but at a higher risk to the animal's wellbeing; these are only recommended for dogs with a high breeding value.
A lavage of the uterus and surrounding areas will be performed to remove the pus and fluids, and to support the healing process. Antibiotics are often administered to fight off infection. Prostaglandins, meanwhile, are administered to control the dog's cell growth and control hormone regulation, and to cause the smooth muscles in the dog's body to contract.
Living and Management
Your dog will be released from medical care once its uterus has returned to normal size and there are no signs of fluids. Antibiotics should be administered for several weeks to prevent infection. It is normal for vaginal discharge to continue until the healing process is complete.
Allowing your dog to go through its heat (estrus) cycles without being bred has been shown to increase the incidence of this medical condition. Therefore, spaying your dog (or removing its ovaries) is the best form of prevention.
rcd2 Background of Disease: “Collie PRA”, or rod-cone dysplasia type 2 (rcd2), is a form of retinal degeneration that has been a health concern in rough and smooth collies for decades. In this disease, an abnormal development (dysplasia) of the rods and cones (the light sensitive cells in the eye) leads to an early onset of night blindness that is typically apparent by the time pups are 6 weeks of age. In most cases, the rcd2-Affected dog is completely blind by the time it is 1 year old.
rcd2 Mutation Identified: After many years of study at Cornell University by scientists in the laboratory of Drs. Greg Acland and Gus Aguirre, the mutation causing rcd2 was identified and a manuscript describing the finding has been submitted for publication (Kukekova, Goldstein et al., 2008). This work was supported prior to 2006 by the Morris Animal Foundation and also by continued contributions of the Collie Health Foundation. The rcd2 DNA test (patent pending) is able to identify with complete accuracy whether a dog has no copy (is Normal), has 1 copy (is a Carrier) or has 2 copies of the mutation (is Affected).
Inheritance of rcd2: Collie breeders and researchers knew for many years that Collie PRA/rcd2 is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. In order for disease to occur, two copies of the mutation must be present. Carriers do not show disease but are able to pass the disease on to offspring. The table below shows the predicted outcome of different matings when the rcd2 status of each parent is known. It should be kept in mind that these predictions are statistical in nature. A Carrier will pass the mutation on to half of its offspring on average . The larger the population that one examines, the more closely the predicted outcome will fit the actual outcome. A single litter of pups (a small population) produced by a Carrier parent can show quite a variation from the expected results.
OptiGen DNA Test for rcd2/Collie PRA: A patent for rcd2 is pending and owned by Cornell University which granted OptiGen permanent and exclusive licensing rights to make the test immediately available to the public. The rcd2 DNA test will identify dogs as being Normal, Carrier, or Affected with rcd2. The rcd2 DNA test requires special techniques compared to the other DNA tests that OptiGen offers so it typically takes 1-2 weeks longer to obtain rcd2 test results. Blood samples, cheek swabs or semen samples are all acceptable sources of DNA for the rcd2 test.
Benefits & Limits to All Genetic Testing: Many Collie breeders already make use of OptiGen’s services to test their dogs for Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA), and so they are aware of the great advantage that genetic testing offers. With informed breeding practices, breeders can immediately avoid producing dogs that are affected with specific diseases. Since genetic testing can be done at any age, each dog’s genetic status can be known even before clinical disease signs are recognized. Over several generations of selection away from the disease gene, breeders can eliminate a disease gene completely from their line.
BUT, there are basic limits for all genetic tests. Any DNA test is only able to identify a specific change in DNA (e.g. a mutation) that is being tested. For example, the rcd2 DNA test detects one specific mutation in the rcd2 gene and the CEA test detects a specific mutation in a different gene. Both mutations cause eye diseases but the DNA tests can only detect the specific type of mutation for which it is designed. The rcd2 test will not identify any other forms of PRA that may occur. At this point we are not aware of other forms of PRA that occur in the collie but many breeds do have multiple types of PRA to contend with and this is a possibility in any breed.