As a breed, Australian Shepherds are known to be somewhat prone to epileptic tendencies. The resulting seizures can be a frightening medical episode for both the dog and its owner. While the causes of canine epilepsy are broad, there are several different classifications of canine seizures that are specific to Australian Shepherds. Most commonly, Australians suffer from idiopathic epilepsy.
This form of canine epilepsy refers to a single seizure or a series of episodes that have no apparent cause. When an epileptic episode occurs, it is important to stay calm and allow your dog to have the seizure. Restraining your dog could cause more harm than good, so it is best to clear the area of any foreign objects and wait for the episode to end. Once the seizures have subsided, take your dog to the vet immediately.
Seizures can be symptoms of a greater health risk or of a deeper neurological disorder, so it is crucial to have your dog screened after a seizure. Your vet will work with you and your dog to develop a treatment plan to prevent and treat future seizures. Australian Shepherds are also prone to certain types of cancer, such as microphthalmia, cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy. To ensure early detection of any of these conditions, it is important for owners to take their dogs for regular check-ups with a vet.
Allergies are also common in Australian Shepherds, so owners should be prepared to invest time and money into their training and socialization. In addition, Australian Shepherds can be prone to hip and elbow dysplasia if they do not receive proper exercise and nutrition. To detect this condition early on, owners should consider having their dogs tested for hip and elbow dysplasia as they grow older. Overall, Australian Shepherds are intelligent and active medium-sized dogs with natural herding instincts and a muscular, agile constitution.
While they are generally very healthy, there are a few health problems that owners should be aware of in order to ensure their pet's well-being. With proper training, socialization and regular exercise, Australian Shepherds can be very well-behaved dogs.