Three Common Health Problems in Australian Shepherds


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Australian Shepherds, affectionately known as Aussie shepherds or velcro dogs, are a great choice as a family pet. Agile, protective, clever, and loving, an Aussie shepherd is best for families who love being outdoors. Shepherds are working dogs bred to herd sheep, geese, and ducks, and so keeping them indoors without an outlet for energy will often lead to destructive and hyperactive behavior.

However, while your Aussie shepherd may be made for working and moving with ease, like any other dog they can be susceptible to pet health problems. Every year the U.S. spends up to $13.59 Billion on pet care, specifically veterinary care, to keep our furry friends happy and healthy. Here are some of the most common problems to look for in your Aussie shepherd in order to ensure the strength of your pet?s health.

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Hip dysplasia is one of the most common problems in pet health and not just for Australian Shepherds. Large dog breeds are also susceptible to this genetic abnormality, defined as a formation at the hip socket which may cause arthritis in the joints and in some cases lameness.

    How do you prevent it?

    Starting from when your dog is a puppy, keep your dog physically fit to strengthen their leg muscles. However, avoid physical activity that may involve jumping as this puts more strain on the hip joints.

  • Cataracts
  • Another one of the most common pet health problems in Australian Shepherds is eye disease such as cataracts and coloboma of the iris. Cataracts are usually found in older dogs and are defined as a clouding of the eye lens. In some extreme cases, Cataracts can cause blindness in your dog so if you notice cloudiness in the lens of your dog?s eye be sure to contact your veterinarian in order to keep the effects minor.

    How do you prevent it?

    Like hip dysplasia, cataracts can be genetic. Be sure to monitor your dog?s eye health and take them to the veterinarian for routine physical exams and checkups. If your dog does have a cataract, they can oftentimes be removed with surgery if the need calls for it.

  • Hypothyroidism
  • A common disease in all dogs, hypothyroidism is caused when the thyroid fails to produce enough hormones to regulate the metabolism. Dogs who suffer from skin problems, hair loss, and obesity may be suffering from hypothyroidism. Luckily, the illness can easily be diagnosed with a blood test specifically checking the T4 thyroid hormones.

    How do you prevent it?

    Make sure your dog receives plenty of exercise and that you monitor the types of medications your dog is on, especially corticosteroids. If your dog has hypothyroidism, they can be treated with a synthetic thyroid medication called Soloxine.

    If you have an Australian Shepherd, be sure to care for your dog or puppy by taking them to the vet clinic for routine vaccinations, checkups, and physical examinations. Paying close attention to pet health, especially as your dog ages, is what will protect your furry friend?s longevity.

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