Border Collies are a breed of dog known for their very active lifestyle. Sadly, hip dysplasia in Border Collies is not a rare occurrence, and the more you know about hip dysplasia, the better you will be prepared to watch your pet for any signs of this debilitating disease.
Border Collies are loyal, easily trainable, intelligent dogs with natural energetic personalities. They require a lot of room to run around in, making them better suited to living on a farm or ranch where they can expend their surplus energy. They are not really suited for living indoors, especially in an apartment. These dogs are meant to work and play outdoors in wide-open spaces.
They form a strong bond with their owners but can be unfriendly to strangers, making them good dogs for guarding your house and property. They are not “attack dogs” but they will certainly let you know if a stranger approaches your house.
Border Collies have natural inbred herding instincts and may start “herding” small children or small pets in your household. They are hardy, high-strung dogs with a determined drive. If you’re a person who likes to play sporting games with your dog, you’ll love Border Collies.
But if you’re just looking for a calm, friendly family pet, a Border Collie probably isn’t the ideal choice. They are demanding dogs that need a lot of attention, ample outdoor exercise and a task like herding sheep, goats, or whatever animal (or person) it feels is in need of herding!
Border Collies also like receiving direction. They require firm leadership from an owner who has the time and patience to follow through with obedience lessons and training. They will dominate a weak-willed owner, so it’s very important that a Border Collie understands who’s boss around the house. Severe punishment or harsh treatment for infractions or disobedience are not recommended because they can cause negative reactions in Border Collies, whereas positive reinforcement helps them.
Border Collies are medium-sized dogs with a light frame, long hair, and athletic bodies that are strong and agile. The typical Border Collie has a slightly wide head with a tapered muzzle, half-perked ears and dark, oval eyes. The long tail sometimes raises but never curls over the back. Their coats are usually sleek and their coat colors are solid black, black and white, black and gray, or red and white.
A healthy Border Collie can live as long as 15 years. Common health problems include deafness, epilepsy, and hip dysplasia.
Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease that primarily affects large and giant breeds of dogs but can also affect medium-sized breeds and occasionally small breeds. It is primarily a disease of purebreds, although it can also occur in mixed breeds.
To understand hip dysplasia and the resulting arthritis, you need a basic understanding of how the dog’s hip joint is affected. The hip joint is comprised of a ball and socket that forms the attachment of the hind leg to the body. The ball portion is the head of the femur and the socket is located on the pelvis. In a normal hip joint the ball rotates freely within the socket. The bones are shaped to perfectly match each other with the socket surrounding the ball. To strengthen the joint, the two bones are held together by a strong ligament. The joint capsule, a strong band of connective tissue, circles the two bones to provide added stability.
This is a normal hip joint:
Hip dysplasia is linked to abnormal joint structure and a laxity of the muscles, connective tissue, and ligaments that would normally support the dog’s hip joints. As the disease progresses, the articular surfaces of the two bones lose contact with each other. This separation of the two bones within the joint causes a drastic change in the size and shape of the articular surfaces.
This is an abnormal hip joint:
Most dogs who eventually develop hip dysplasia are born with normal hips, but due to their genetic make-up the soft tissues surrounding the joint develop abnormally. This leads to the symptoms associated with hip dysplasia. The disease may affect both hips, or only the right or left hip.
Hip dysplasia in Border Collies causes afflicted dogs to walk or run with an altered gait, similar to a bunny-hop. They begin to resist any movement that requires full extension or flexion of the rear legs. They will experience stiffness and pain in their rear legs after exercising and on first rising in the morning. Climbing stairs becomes difficult if not impossible. Some dogs will limp and are less willing to participate in normal daily activities, including walks they formerly enjoyed.
It appears that the amount of calories a dog consumes, especially during its fast-growth period from three to ten months, has the biggest impact on whether or not a dog genetically prone to hip dysplasia will develop the disease.
Obesity can increase the severity of the disease in dogs that are genetically susceptible and the extra weight will intensify the degeneration of a dog’s joints and hips. Dogs who are genetically prone to hip dysplasia and also are overweight, are at a much higher risk of developing hip dysplasia and eventually osteoarthritis.
Exercise can be another risk factor. Dogs genetically susceptible to hip dysplasia may have an increased incidence of the disease if they are over-exercised at a young age. Moderate exercise like running and swimming is best for exercising young dogs.
Because hip dysplasia is primarily an inherited condition in Border Collies, there are no products that can prevent its development. Through proper diet, exercise, and a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, you can slow, and sometimes halt, the progression of these degenerative joint diseases while providing your dog with relief from its pain. Winston’s provides many of the raw materials essential for the synthesis of the joint-lubricating synovial fluid as well as the repair of articular cartilage and connective tissue.
There are different assumptions on how to prevent the progression of hip dysplasia in Border Collies. Poor nutrition, inadequate or improper exercise, and increased body weight may all contribute to the severity of osteoarthritis after the hip dysplasia has developed. By watching the calories your puppy or young dog consumes and preventing obesity in your dog, allowing only non-stressful types of exercise, and a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, are the best things you can do for your dog.