MH - Malignant Hyperthermia:
This inherited condition is not specific to Aussies but can occur in dogs of all breeds. It is a malfunction of the skeletal muscle, which manifests itself in a breakdown of muscle fibers, generalized spasms of the skeletal muscles, cardiac arrhythmias and kidney malfunctions.
This disease is triggered by the administration of inhalation anesthetics and muscle relaxants. If the anesthetic drugs used are not discontinued immediately, damage to nerve, liver and kidney tissue and death occur.
At least in cases in which cases of sensitivity or intolerance to anesthesia are known in the family of a dog, it is strongly recommended to carry out a genetic test for this disease, which is a very reliable tool for identifying affected animals. The disease is inherited as an autosomal dominant trait, ie one defective allele (carrier of traits) is sufficient for the life-threatening disorder to occur.
This is a malfunction of the immune system. It is unclear to what extent a genetic disposition is required to trigger the disease. Allergies can be triggered by a variety of factors and can be directed against everything, the symptoms are also diverse. Food allergies often occur (which is not surprising given the composition of dry and canned food). A dog that is prone to allergies should definitely not be fed grain. Other allergenic substances are house dust, mites, mold, pollen, etc.
Whether this is a problem in Australian Shepherd breeding is always the subject of heated debate. In fact, there are some cases of heart disease here in Germany and if you suspect you should definitely have your dog examined. To what extent a purely prophylactic examination makes sense, I have not yet been able to find out.
Cryptorchism / Monorchism:
This is a lack of or singularity. The reason for this can be For example, the testicles are too big and get stuck in the canal. If they do not dismount, the dog is sterile and neutering is imperative. If only one testicle is affected, it should also be castrated, as the problem is genetic. The testicle lying in the abdominal cavity or inguinal canal can possibly degenerate into a tumor !!!
Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs as well. A study is currently underway at the ASHGI to determine to what extent which types of cancer are hereditary or acquired problems. For example, dogs can develop lung cancer as passive smokers, but feed and vaccines can also be responsible for the development of cancer. It is noticeable that the inbreeding coefficient in young dogs with cancer is often very high.
Tooth defects are relatively common on some lines. The main reason for this is likely to be the trend towards a shorter muzzle, which means that the bit no longer has enough space to fully develop. A dog with up to 2 missing teeth is still allowed for breeding.
If two Merles are mated with each other, statistically speaking, 25% of the offspring suffer from serious health problems. In addition to excessive white fur, these animals have eye defects (blindness), ear defects (deafness), reproductive disorders and / or impaired sense of balance. The German animal protection law forbids such matings!
This is the most serious illness that can occur. It is urgently warned against using dogs for breeding whose first-degree relatives (parents, siblings) are affected by this terrible disease!
Epilepsy is a seizure disorder that manifests itself as muscle spasms (persistent muscle tension or convulsions). At the same time one often observes loss of consciousness (fainting), hallucinations, changes in behavior and personality, urination and feces as well as increased salivation. The animals lying on the ground often show rowing movements with their legs. The severity of the seizures can vary and the duration of the seizures can vary widely.
It is typical of a seizure that it starts suddenly. Often your animal no longer recognizes you and is no longer responsive. The following signs can announce a seizure: tail biting, fly snapping, frenzy, anxiety, etc. The seizures can be very different, the typical form is as follows: falling to the ground, the body cramped, danger of a locked jaw (which can lead to an injury of the Tongue), after a few seconds to minutes development of rhythmic cramps and rowing movements, saliva is chewed into foam, wailing and moaning, uncontrolled defecation and urination. The seizure often only lasts a few minutes, after which the cramps resolve and the animal lies quietly and gets up after a short time. Often it is drowsy and not yet responsive, but recovers quickly. The seizures can be much weaker, possibly only hinted at, but they can also last much longer and lead to a life-threatening condition.
A distinction is made between primary epilepsy as a congenital disease and secondary epilepsy, which occurs as a result of other diseases. The cause can be infectious diseases, organ dysfunction, poisons, accidents / trauma, brain tumors and others. If the causes - such as B. Poison - away, the seizures stop again, unless irreparable damage has already occurred and there is no genetic disposition for epilepsy.
In order to avoid mix-ups, it is urgently advisable to have Aussies tested for the MDR1 defect, as epileptic seizures can also occur with a drug intolerance. The seizures stop here, however, when the corresponding medication is discontinued.