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 (Diane Stirling - Working Collie Breeder in Minnesota)


Stirling Collies lounging around

Clearwater, Minnesota

(320) 420-9989c

(Updated Periodically-2022)

Q. How much food does my puppy eat per day?
A. We usually will feed a 1/4 - 1/3 cup of Life's Abundance For a Puppy, 3 times a day, for an 8-12 week old puppy (10-20 lbs). Leave the hard food out 24/7. Check to see how much is consumed and adjust accordingly as the puppy matures.  If you prefer to feed only canned food, Life's Abundance does have an excellent, Canned dog food as well. Otherwise, if you prefer a hard dog food, then we prefer that you would use the Life's Abundance Dry Puppy/Dog Food, in the "green bag - all life stage brand", which is also formulated by a former HOLISTIC, Nutritional Vet, Dr. Jane Bicks. 

Remember to order your Life's Abundance Premium Health dog food before your Collie, or Collie-Shepherd Mix arrives in your new home:

If you intend to switch to something else:  We would prefer that you feed your puppy "Life's Abundance Premium Health Food for Puppy's/Dogs" for at least the first few months after arrival in your home, to make sure that he/she is eating well, and adjusting to his/her new family and surroundings before switching.  It is best to wait until your puppy knows it's new family, his/her name, and a few basic commands before stressing the body physically with a new food.  It is SO stressful on a new puppy, mentally and physically, to leave our home, sire/dam/siblings, our family, travel, etc., and then join a new family and environment. With all of the stress of switching homes, and then if you change the food during this transition time, you are asking for major problems!  If you plan on switching to a different brand then what we use, then switch gradually, to prevent loose stools. Do not feed your puppy table scraps as this can cause upset stomachs, not to mention obesity, which is even more harmful long term. Do not feed your puppy holiday treats, or chocolate which can be harmful, and even fatal.  Remember, if you switch to a different brand of food other than Life's Abundance, our "Lifetime free replacement puppy health guarantee" does NOT apply, only the standard 1 year health guarantee. 

Always provide a fresh water supply - we like to add 2 tbl. natural honey, or karo syrup to help prevent hypoglycemia when the puppies are very young. 


**We offer Life's Abundance Premium Health Food For Pets** 

Stirling Collies believes SO strongly in these products that we offer a *Lifetime Free Replacement Puppy* on all of our Collies and Collie/Shepherd Mix puppies/adults that are kept on the Life's Abundance Dog food AND NuVet Supplements when they don't reach their life expectancy of 10-12 years.  Life's Abundance is available in dry or canned puppy/dog food.  If you decide to take advantage of this offer and switch, these products must be ordered through our direct websites at:

Life's Abundance Pet Food: (Our other websites DO apply to this offer) 

You can call your Life's Abundance order in at 1-877-387-4564.  Check with me first on the representative ID # that you will need to use to obtain your *Lifetime Free Replacement Puppy. 

NuVet Supplements:  The NuVet Supplement order phone number is: 1800-474-7044, and my representative ID #58606.

*Lifetime Free Replacement Puppy - this does not include the vet check, cerf exam, shots, worming, transportation, carrier, or travel kit fees.  This Health Guarantee is for the health of your Collie, or Collie-Shepherd Mix, and does not cover accidental death, neglect, abuse, or injuries that your dog may sustain while being a part of your family.  We believe that Life's Abundance Pet Foods and NuVet Supplements are a great coombination to provide your dog with optimal health, so that your Collie, or Collie-Shepherd mix can live a long and happy life with your family!  This Lifetime Free Replacement Puppy Health Guarantee does transfer to new owners (if you are unable to care for your dog), when no lapse in the use of these products occurs.

Remember, it is best to order your Dog Food "before" your puppy arrives home:

We recommend "Autoship" every 2 months, based on the weight of your Collie, or Collie-Shepherd Mix.  In most cases, the shipping charge for single and multiple bags of Life's Abundance Pet Food is $8.85an order (excluding non-food products).  Therefore, you will save on shipping if you order a greater amount of food over a longer period of time.  For example, instead of ordering a 20 lb. bag of dog food every month for your Adult Collie, or Collie-Shepherd Mix (shipping charge of approximately $8.85 a month), we suggest a 40 lb. bag every two months (shipping charge of approximately $8.85 every two months). 

Life's Abundance Dog Food has convenient home delivery and you never have to worry about running out of food on their Autoship program! 

"30 day money-back guarantee if not satisfied"


Q. How much should I exercise my puppy?
A. A 6 month old pup is susceptible to bone problems and injuries for another 12 months, until around 18 months of age, and their joints are tender. Puppies’ bodies develop much faster than their bones. The growing weight that results as their body develops combined with the stress of over-exercising can cause bone damage. Puppies are susceptible to joint disorders and can develop health problems if they are over-exercised. Young puppies (less then 6 months) tire quickly and should be allowed to exercise at their own pace.

Q. Do Collies require a lot of grooming?
A. The Collie coat is beautiful if maintained properly. A quick brush through every other day will help prevent mats and tangles. Once a week you should go through the coat in detail, paying special attention to the deep undercoat, underside, and hocks. The Collie is a beautiful, and majestic breed. If you are not willing to spend a half hour each week to comb and brush out the coat properly then perhaps the Collie is not the right breed for you.

Q. Is there a difference between temperament in males and females?
A. Collies are loyal, affectionate, and make excellent companions. There is not a clear difference based on gender alone. Collies, just like people, are individuals and each one has it's own unique personality. Some people have the mistaken perception that males are less affectionate, and are more aggressive. I have not found this to be true. Both are extremely loving and affectionate. If the males are neutered early, they usually will not lift their hind leg to pee – one advantage.

Q. How long do Collies live?
A. The average lifespan is 8-12 years. Diet, exercise, rest, companionship, nutrition, teeth cleaning, proper vaccinations, and veterinarian care all play a key role in how long your Collie will live.

Q. Is it safe to use Ivermectin Wormers on Collies?
A. No... Ivermectin is not considered safe for Collies by most breeders. Several studies have shown a wider range of sensitivity in Collies then other breeds. For Large Roundworm, or Hookworm use Pyrantel Pamoate which is safe for Collies. Also, because of several cases of toxicity in Collies, stay away from Ivermectin products for Heartworm prevention. Talk to your Vet about what is a safe Heartworm preventative for Collies.

Q. What is Hypoglycemia (low blood glucose)?
A. Hypoglycemia simply means a low blood sugar, and is a health risk that can affect puppies between 5 and 16 weeks of age. Glucose is the form of sugar found within the bloodstream. Glucose is formed during the digestion of foods and it can be stored within the liver in a storage form called lycogen. Some instances of low blood sugar in the puppy are the result of inadequate nutrition; either not enough, or poor quality (undigestible) food. Excessive exercise may also cause the body to use up more sugar than is available.
You can recognize hypoglycemia by a healthy puppy becoming weak, listless, unaware of surroundings, even unable to walk or stand. The puppy will appear limp and lifeless with the gums and tongue usually grayish blue in color. Often the eyes are unfocused and barely open. They may appear to be slightly sunken in. Temperature will be sub-normal and the puppy will be shivering and trembling in the early stages. Advanced stages include seizures before lapsing into coma, which is sometimes followed by death. A puppy with hypoglycemia will lack energy. Glucose (sugar) is the fuel the body burns for energy; without it the puppy is listless. In severe instances the puppy may even seizure since glucose is necessary for the brain tissue and muscles to function. These hypoglycemic episodes will cause the puppy to fall over and appear weak or comatose.
Steps should be taken IMMEDIATELY to give the puppy honey or karo syrup. Administer the honey or karo syrup by eyedropper, or if the puppy is too weak to take it , let the puppy lick it off your clean fingers, or rub it on its tongue and gums. If the puppy does not improve within 10 minutes, contact your vet immediately! This is NOT something that can wait until the vet opens the following morning! I always recommend if you ever have any concerns, questions, or worries don't hesitate to call your vet even if the puppy is doing better. Once a puppy's sugar level drops, it is much more likely for him to have another episode. It can TAKE WEEKS to build blood sugar levels back up afterwards. Make sure your puppy is eating and drinking OFTEN.
Regardless of how you do it, make the puppy take the honey or syrup, IT'S LIFE DEPENDS ON IT!!! If you give your puppy honey or syrup EVERYDAY until it is 4 months old, you should not have a problem with hypoglycemia. It only takes a few hours for a puppy to go down, so do not forget to give it the honey or syrup EVERYDAY. You should never let a puppy go more than 4 hours without eating. This could result in death and we will not be held responsible for the death of a puppy due to negligence.
Hypoglycemia can occur WITHOUT warning, when a puppy is placed into a new home, or while being shipped. It might appear after a puppy misses a meal, chills, becomes exhausted from too much playing, or has a digestive upset. These upsets place an added strain on the energy reserves of the liver and bring on symptoms.
Treatment is directed at restoring blood levels of glucose, beginning at once. If the puppy is awake give him Karo Syrup, honey or sugar in water by mouth. He will begin to improve within 30 minutes. When he is unconscious, he will have to be given a Dextrose solution intravenously. It may be necessary to treat for swelling of the brain. A veterinarian should be called at once.
There are a few ways to give it:
1. Mix 2 tablespoons of honey with 1/2 cup of water each day and let the puppy drink it throughout the day (must be fresh each day).
2. Mix 1 cup creamy peanut butter with 2 tablespoons honey. Store in a closed container in the refrigerator. Take a dab with your finger, roll it into a ball and give it to the puppy. If the puppy does not want to eat it, put the ball on the roof of its mouth. It cannot spit it out. Be careful not to give to large a ball that the puppy chokes. This is good for hypoglycemia and a good coat.
3. Mix Honey, Sugar, or Corn Syrup with equal amounts of water and feed with a syringe, 10cc four times a day.
The stress usually causing this condition is:
1. Over--handling young puppies and not letting them get enough rest and sleep.
2. A puppy refuses to eat for over a period of 8 hours due to change of home and/or food.
3. Exposure to low room temperatures for a period of time or sleeping in drafts.
Usually, the bowels will move without help, but an older puppy may struggle to be supported erect on his feet for elimination. Check carefully for urination as the pup is in trouble if the kidneys cease to function. Wash genital area with cotton soaked with warm water, if the puppy is comatose. If partially mobile, put his feet on a towel at the edge of a wash basin. Support him with one hand and turn the water on in the basin. Hearing the running water usually makes them urinate.
I add 1-2 tablespoons of honey or white karo syrup to their fresh drinking water everyday. Feed several times a day. Leave dry food out 24/7. Never feed your puppy chocolate, fried foods or milk. Do not allow your puppy to become over-chilled or tired. Let your puppy rest and become accustomed to his new home.
When hypoglycemia is caught in time, there is no reason why a puppy won't come out of it and never have it again if the stress factor is eliminated.
Usually, most outgrow this danger by 6 months of age.

Q. What is a CERF exam?
A. It is an eye exam done by an Ophthalmologist to check for “Collie Eye Anomaly”.

Q. Are Normal Eyed Collies rare?
A. Yes, there are very few Collie Breeders who breed specifically for Normal Eyes, or use Normal Eyed Collies in their breeding program, which is very unfortunate. To learn more: These conditions are discussed below...

Q. Other breeders I have contacted downplay the importance of Normal Eyes and insist it is not a top priority or very important, why is that?
A. I can only guess, possibly because they don't have them, and do not want to invest the time it takes to "perfect" the eyes and obtain consistent "Normal Eye" results. There are only a handful of breeders in the United States that are breeding for Normal Eyes and to produce Normal Eyes with each successive generation. Ask a Certified Ophthalmologist how important the eyes are, and Normal Eyes in any Collie breeding program… They will tell you, “It is very important”. I have been told, by our Board Certified Ophthalmologist that "We have some of the best in the State", from what he has seen.

Q. What is Collie Eye Anomaly?
A. It is a group of conditions that appear in conjunction with each other, and is present prior to birth. The eye is graded as “clear,” not affected, or as affected, showing signs of the syndrome listed as follows: Staphyloma, Coloboma, Estasia, Choroidal Hypoplasia, Choriorentinal Change, Vascular Disease, Tortuous Blood Vessels, or Retinal Detachment. CEA is a disease essentially affecting the scleral and choroidal layers of the eye. The disease is bilateral, which means it affects both eyes, but not necessarily to the same degree. In it's mildest form, vision is not impaired, but blindness will occur in its severest form. The disease is not progressive, unlike PRA, which means that whatever the degree of affliction, it will not deteriorate.
It is now regarded that CEA has four lesions (the 5 lesions are listed below - Grade 1 no longer has a place on the CERF form), which are as follows:
Grade 1. Torturous retinal vessels, extremely small areas of choroidal hypoplasia - Choroidal Hypoplasia is the mildest form.
CERF FORMS: Ophthalmologists no longer have an area to mark "grade 1's". This condition will now be marked as "normal", but these collies will NEVER be able to produce "normal eyed" offspring, as they are still AFFECTED, just as the "Go Normals" are still affected.
Grade 2. Torturous retinal vessels, substantial areas of choroidal hypoplasia - choroidal hypoplasia in the mildest form - vision is normal and is not a progressive condition.
Choroidal hypoplasia - appears as an area lateral (temporal) to the optic disc with reduction or absence of pigment so that the underlying choroidal vasculature is seen; the choroidal vessels may be reduced in number and of abnormal shape; may see underlying white sclera. Once the retina changes to its adult color (about 3 months of age), the normal pigment in the retina may mask the changes in the choroid (so-called "go normal").
Grade 3. Torturous retinal vessels, substantial areas of Choroidal Hypoplasia with Colobomas (pits), Staphlomas, or areas of Ectasia in the posterior segment.
Iris Colobomas - holes or abnormal openings in the iris.
Optic Disc Colobomas - pits or irregularities in the optic disc, the place the optic nerve enters the back of the eye.
Staphlomas - abnormal bulging of the rear wall of the eyeball.
Grade 4. All of the above defects with a Retinal Detachment.
Retinal Detachment - Is where the retina becomes detached from the underlying tissue, at some point or points, resulting in retina becoming loose, possibly showing signs of multiple folding or rippling. Vision will be affected and blindness will occur with a complete detachment. The disease is not progressive, yet it should be said that when a partial detachment becomes complete, it causes total blindness in an already poorly sighted eye.
Retinal Dysplasia - bilateral (both eyes) folded or detached retinals.
Grade 5. All of the above defects with Intra-ocular Hemorrhage, the severest form. This may result from severe retinal detachment, but it may also occur at any age to a greater or lesser extent within this category.

Q. What does the term "Go Normal" mean in reference to eyes?
A. "Go normal" is a term used to describe an affected collie, Grade 1, or Grade 2, in which the area of choroidal hypoplasia fills in so it appears normal at later examinations. These animals act genetically like the affected collies that they are. They will NEVER produce "normal eyed" offspring, unless mated with a normal eyed collie.

Q. What is PRA?
A. Progressive retinal atrophy is a collective term used to describe a variety of inherited retinal diseases in dogs. PRA is a term which describes retinal degeneration resulting in total blindness in both eyes. The most common form is Generalized PRA. (Another, known as CPRA, arises first in the center of the retina. It comes on later in a dog's life. This has not been considered a threat to the American Collie).
Generalized PRA has proven to be a simple recessive in all the breeds studied. Again, this means that even though the condition is not present at birth, BOTH parents must have been involved as carriers or affecteds. Early signs of the problem may be noticed by the owner as "night blindness". The dog has trouble seeing in dim light. An expert may detect early signs in the eye at 6 months or younger. By two years, if the Collie shows no ophthalmoscopic signs, he may be assumed to be permanently safe from PRA.

Q. What is a Persistent Pupillary Membrane?
A. The pupillary membrane covers the pupil prior to birth. It is supposed to be gone by the time a puppy opens its eyes. Sometimes, however, it persists. If it resolves within a few weeks, there is probably no reason to worry. However if it remains, it can affect vision. PPM can occur in one or both eyes.
PPMs occur in three types:
Iris-to Iris, Iris-to-Lens and Iris-to-Cornea. THE FIRST RARELY CAUSES ANY VISUAL PROBLEM. However, attachment to either the lens or the cornea can result in opacities at the point of attachment. Those opacities can be blinding. The mode of inheritance for PPM is not know, so the best course of action is not to breed dogs in which a PPM fails to resolve. If an unaffected animal produces it repeatedly, particularly with multiple mates, it should no longer be bred.

Q. What are Cataracts?
A. There are several different types of cateracts, not all of that are hereditary. Hereditary cataracts are thought to be bilateral (both eyes), though the eyes may develop them at slightly different rates. Nonhereditary cataracts include senile (old age) cataracts and traumatic cataracts (those caused by an injury to the eye or head). Late-onset cataracts, which develop when an animal is 5 to 9 years of age, are probably not hereditary.
Professionals differ in their opinions of whether small opacities in the lens that do not change over time are cataracts or not. A small opacity that remains the same over 6 months to a year is probably not hereditary.
Juvenile hereditary cataracts will develop in both eyes, usually by the time the dog is two years of age. The lenses will gradually become more and more opaque until the dog's vision can be compared to looking through frosted glass - prominent contrasts in light and shadow can be distinguished and some movement noted, but all detail and subtlety of vision is lost.
In most breeeds in which cataracts have been studied, the mode of inheritance appears to be complex - probably involving a number of genes - though in Standard Poodles, Old english Sheepdogs and Miniature Schnauzers it might be a simple recessive.

Q. Do you have the puppies eyes tested before they are sold?
A. Yes, all of “Our” AKC litters have their eyes examined by the Ophthalmologist around 7 weeks of age. If we are helping another breeder find homes for their AKC collie/collies, it will vary, depending on the history of the parents.

Q. What is Hip Dysplasia?
A. Hip Dysplasia is an abnormality in the development of the hip joint. Dogs with no genetic predisposition do not develop Hip Dysplasia. The strongest link to contributing factors other then genetic predisposition appears to be to rapid growth and weight gain.
For more information about the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, visit their website at:  Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) is a developmental disorder of the hip that begins with joint laxity and progresses to arthritis over a period of several months to years. It is one of the most common skeletal diseases seen by veterinarians. The condition is very common in large breed dogs, but can be seen in any breed.
Multiple genes are involved in the inheritance of Hip Dysplasia, and many other factors influence its development, including body type, size, growth rate, and nutrition. Overfeeding, and dietary supplementation for maximal growth has been shown to increase the incidence of hip Dysplasia in young, growing, large breed dogs. Conversely the development of Hip Dysplasia can be delayed, and its severity diminished when the growth rate of pups is restricted. The diagnosis of hip Dysplasia is based on history, physical examination, and radiographic evaluation.
The clinical signs commonly begin between five to eight months of age or after skeletal maturity. Some dogs don't have noticeable problems until eight to ten years of age or older. The onset of signs may appear sudden or gradual. This variability is due to the individual severity of the disease as well as pain tolerance of the pet. Most dogs with CHD are most painful when the hips are extended by pulling the rear legs back behind the body. Palpation of the hips usually reveals joint laxity, although anesthesia may be required to detect it in some cases. Radiographs are necessary to confirm the diagnosis and evaluate the severity of CHD.
Radiographs of animals 24 months of age or older are independently evaluated by three randomly selected, board-certified veterinary radiologists from a pool of 20 to 25 consulting radiologists throughout the USA in private practice and academia. Each radiologist evaluates the animal's hip status considering the breed, sex, and age. There are approximately 9 different anatomic areas of the hip that are evaluated

1. Craniolateral acetabular rim

2. Cranial acetabular margin

3. Femoral head (hip ball)

4. Fovea capitus (normal flattened area on hip ball)

5. Acetabular notch

6. Caudal acetabular rim

7. Dorsal acetabular margin

8. Junction of femoral head and neck

9. Trochanteric fossa

A typical history may include any or all of the following:

* difficulty or stiffness upon rising

* rising using front legs only and dragging rear

* "bunny hopping"'gait

* short stride in rear legs

* reluctance to exercise or climb stairs

* rear limb lameness

* soreness in hips

* waddling rear limb gait

Q. What is Hypothyroidism or Thyroid deficiency?

A. Hypothyroidism or Thyroid deficiency is when the thyroid gland is not working properly; by not producing a normal level of thyroid hormones. The lack of proper thyroid hormone production and secretion results in various physical  problems. . This gland produces and secretes two thyroid hormones that are involved in many bodily functions; one such function is the control of the body's basic metabolic rate (oxygen consumption). This condition is usually seen in dogs within the range of 4 to 10 years of age, and in breeds that are medium to large in size. Some of the signs displayed by hyperthyroid dogs are visually apparent, but sometimes the dog may not show any outward signs of the illness. Some of the more common visual signs associated with this disease are:

1. The dog puts on weight even though he/she is not eating increased amounts of food. When the amount of food is then reduced, he/she doesn't lose the surplus weight.

2. The dog seeks sources of heat and rarely seems to be comfortable.

3. The dog doesn't want to exercise, appears uninterested in activity around him/her.

4. Noticeable changes to the coat and skin such as dryness and hair loss. The loss of hair is commonly seen upon the tail, trunk, thighs and the nose.

5. The skin may become thickened (common on the face and upon the forehead), and there may be a change in skin color - it becomes darker due to hyperpigmentation.Other symptoms of hypothyroidism are not visually apparent. Lack of the necessary amounts of thyroid hormones alters the proper function of organ systems. Females that are still intact may experience reproductive problems such as abortion, infertility or failure to cycle. Intact males can also experience infertility.The only way to find out if the dog is suffering from hypothyroidism must be made through lab tests. It can not be made based only upon the nonspecific signs discussed above. Discovery of below normal levels of thyroid hormone is critical to the diagnosis of this disease.Providing the dog with thyroid supplementation (through pills) is the only way to help bring the dog back to an improved state of health. This thyroid replacement must continue for the remainder of the dog's life. It is because the thyroid has failed that a supplement must be given. Pills are administered two times each and every day. The vet's instructions must be followed strictly on pill administration; it is so important to continue the therapy even if it appears that the dog is completely cured. He or she only appears cured. Discontinuation of hormone replacement will quickly return the dog to his/her previous untreated and unhealthy condition. The cessation of treatment will also throw off the test results necessary to evaluate the pet's state of health, making dosage reevaluation difficult.


Q.  What is Distichiasis?

A.  Distichiasis is a condition in which small eyelashes abnormally grow on the inner surface or very edge of the eyelids. Both upper and lower lids may be involved.  The extra eye lashes can be singular, or a few in the same area.  There may be no symptoms at all, if the hairs are very fine and don't point inward. However, if the hairs are angled or curled inward, and/or are not as fine, then they may cause irritation of the cornea.  The affected eye will then become red, inflamed, and may develop a discharge. The dog may squint or blink often.  If the case is more severe, the dog may develop a corneal ulceration, which would show as a bluish-gray discoloration on the eye surface.  They may need to be removed by an Ophthalmologist, if they are causing severe problems. 

In regards to "being hereditary", many dogs can have eyelash abnormalities.  It may occur at any time in the life of a dog.  There is some question about the heritability of Distichiasis. Because it seems to affect specific breeds, there does appear to be a genetic component to the condition. However, there doesn't appear to be a wide agreement on whether the genetic influence is for each of those breeds as a whole, or if there may be specific lines within those breeds, or even specific genetic markers, which would pass the condition. At any rate, it should be thought of as a fairly common condition in certain breeds.  Breeds commonly affected with Distichiasis include the Cocker Spaniel breeds, Bulldog, Dachshund, Shih Tzu, Pekingese, Bulldog, Yorkshire Terrier, Boxers, and some retriever breeds.  For many breeds and many disorders, the studies to determine the mode of inheritance or the frequency in the breed have not been carried out, or are inconclusive.  Other than breeding two dogs with this condition to each other, there are no recognized preventive steps to avoid distichiasis in dogs.  It is difficult to make a strong recommendation against using a dog with this condition in a breeding program because the hereditary basis is uncertain, although some breeds do have a high incidence of Distichiasis, such as those previously mentioned.


Q. What is Vaginal Hyperplacia

A. Though, not common in the Collie Breed, it can occur. Vaginal Hyperplasia is a protrusion of vaginal epithelium during the estrogenic phase of the estrus cycle. To distinguish that from, for instance, vaginal prolapse which occurs following trauma to the pelvic organs or following a difficult birth.During estrus, vaginal tissues becomes hyperplastic and protrudes through the vulva. The condition results from an exaggeration of the estrogenic response which results in excessive mucosal folding of the vaginal floor just ahead of the urethral papilla in such a manner that tissue protrudes through the vulva labia. Vaginal hyperplasia is most common in large brachycephalic breeds (short nosed breeds) such as Boxers and Bostons, although it does occasionally occur in other large and small breeds.The hyperplastic tissue will regress at the end of the heat cycle but it will return with the next heat, only more extreme with more tissue protruding each time. And although the tissue may appear healthy it can become necrotic within hours if the tissue dries and/or is self mutilated. It may be necessary to place an Elizabethan collar on the dog to prevent self trauma.The protruding tissues should be kept clean and moist. It may be necessary to amputate the hyperplastic tissue if it becomes necrotic. Vaginal hyperplasia must be differentiated from tumors which are not associated with estrus cycles. The only true cure is to have the bitch spayed although the problem can sometimes be controlled with the use of hormones to stop the bitch from coming into season (not recommended due to risks from the hormones themselves).Difficulty results from the trauma that occurs to the tissue once it is outside the body. It very quickly becomes dry and can be infected and ulcerated within a period of twelve hours. Usually the condition occurs on the first estrus cycle and continues to be a problem each time the bitch cycles. On occasion, we may see it again on the 63rd day, whether she is bred or not.


Q. What is von Willebrand's Disease (vWD)?

A. In 1925 Erik von Willebrand, a Finnish physician, recognize vWD in humans. In von Willebrand's Disease, the dog is missing a substance which helps the platelets form clots and stabilizes Factor VIII in the clotting process. This substance is called "von Willebrand's factor". Because of the deficient clotting of blood, dogs with von Willebrand's disease have excessive bleeding upon injury. This would be similar to hemophilia. Certain breeds have a higher incidence of vWD than others. German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Shetland Sheepdogs, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, German Shorthaired Pointers, Golden Retrievers, Standard Poodles and Scottish Terriers all have a higher than normal incidence, showing that it can be inherited.

vWD Phenotype









Manchester Terrier




Pembroke Welsh Corgi













Q. Are your Collies OFA’d?

A. Yes, some of our collies are OFA certified. We will continue to OFA certify when necessary. Many of the parents and/or grandparents of our Collies have been Hip certified. There is no history of Hip Dysplasia in any of our lines that we are aware of.


Q. How old does a dog have to be to be Hip certified?

A. Because of the growth and development in large dogs, a Collie is required to be at least 2 years old before they can be hip certified.


Q. What is Collie Nose (Nasal Solar Dermatitis)?

A. Collie Nose is a discoloration of the nose pigment diagnosed as Discoid Lupus Erythematosus. Originally thought to be an allergic reaction to sunlight, the condition is aggravated by prolonged sun exposure. These lighter colored areas are sensitive to the sun and can be burned easily. Sometimes, an owner will tattoo this pink area to help protect/minimize the possibility of sunburn. Remember to keep your Collie out of bright sunlight as much as possible if it has this condition. A small amount of sun screen lotion can be applied to the affected area to protect it.


Q. What is an Umbilical Hernia?

A. True Hernia's are where there is a defect in the body wall. Delayed Closures are where a small bit of omentum slips out of the area before the umbilicus closes. For more information on how to differenciate between the different types of Umbilical Hernia's, check out the Breeder Vet. Usually if surgery is required, most Vets will wait until the time of spaying, unless it is an emergency.


The greatest health problem that affects any breed is when we, the breeders, show-breeders, and owners, only tell what is right with our dogs and not what is wrong. This will only allow the problems to continue and never be corrected.

Q. What is Bloat, Torsion. Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV)?

A. Bloat is a serious, life threatening disease in dogs. Bloat is actually two conditions that come under the heading of one syndrome. First there is "simple" bloat or gastric dilatation; second is bloat with twisting of the stomach or gastric dilatation and volvulus. Veterinarians use the abbreviations GD and GDV to describe these clinically. You could think of these as two syndromes in which one becomes the other; gastric dilatation becoming gastric dilatation and volvulus. So the line between the two is not exactly clear.

Normal Stomach Parts

* A - Pylorus

* B - Pyloric Antrum

* C - Esophagus

* D - Fundus

* E - Body

* F - OmentumIn bloat, due to a number of different and sometimes unknown reasons, the stomach fills up with air and puts pressure on the other organs and diaphragm. Filled with air, the stomach can easily rotate on itself, thus pinching off the blood supply. Once this rotation (volvulus) occurs and the blood supply is cut off, the stomach begins to die and the entire blood supply is disrupted and the animal’s condition begins to deteriorate very rapidly.The signs of bloat can be subtle at first: restlessness being the most likely first indication of a problem as the distention and pain increases. Drooling, retching or gagging (but not vomiting up stomach contents) will occur and by the time you recognize that your dog's stomach is distended, you have a serious medical emergency on your hands. Now a complex chain of physiologic events begins. The blood return to the heart decreases, cardiac output decreases, and cardiac arrythmias may follow. Toxins build up in the dying stomach lining. The liver, pancreas, and upper small bowel may also be compromised. Shock from low blood pressure and endotoxins rapidly develops. Sometimes the stomach ruptures, leading to peritonitis. You need to seek veterinary care immediately!

Gastric Dilatation with Torsion


1. Clockwise Torsion of the stomach; the organ is greatly enlarged.

2. Torsion of the esophagus

3. Duodenum displaced to the left.

4. Hemorrhages on the stomach's surface.

5. The Greater Omnetum covers the Stomach's surface.The faster the distention and/or twisting can be corrected, the better the dog's chances of survival. Also, these conditions are extremely painful! Even with treatment it is estimated that at least 35% of the dogs with gastric dilatation and volvulus die. Plus treatment can be extremely costly, usually $500 to over $1000.GDV is a true emergency. If you know or even suspect your dog has bloat, immediately call your veterinarian or emergency service. Do not attempt home treatment, but do take the time to call ahead. While you are transporting the dog, the hospital staff can prepare for your arrival.Please do not insist on accompanying your dog to the treatment area. Well-meaning owners are an impediment to efficient care. Someone will be out to answer your questions as soon as possible, but for now, have faith in your veterinarian and wait.The GDV risk ratio of a Great Dane is 41.4 times more likely to develop GDV than a mixed breed dog. It seems the larger the chest cavity of the animal, the greater the risk of GDV. The following chart lists the risk ratio for many of the popular breeds of today.


GDV Risk Ratio

Risk Rank


Great Dane



Alaskan Malamute



Saint Bernard



Chesapeake Bay Retriever









Irish Setter






Gordon Setter



Labrador Retriever2


Standard Poodle



English Springer Spaniel



Basset Hound






Doberman Pinscher






Old English Sheepdog



Golden Retriever



German Shorthaired Pointer












German Shepherd



Miniature Poodle



Airedale Terrier



Prevention of GDV is preferable to treatment. In susceptible breeds, feed two or three meals daily and discourage rapid eating. Also regulate the amount of water consumed before, during, and after meals. Do not allow exercise for two hours after a meal. As previously mentioned, some owners feel that certain bloodlines are at greater risk and choose to have gastroplexy performed as a prophylactic measure. While the genetics of GDV are not completely worked out, most breeders and veterinarians feel there is some degree of heritability. The incidence is closely correlated to the depth and width of the dog’s chest. Several different genes from the parents determine these traits. If both parents have particularly deep chests then it is highly likely that their offspring will have a deep chest and the resulting problems that may go with it. This is why in particular breeds we see a higher incidence in certain lines, most likely because of that line's particular chest conformation. Therefore, while prophylactic gastroplexy will probably help an individual dog, it makes sense not to breed dogs who are affected or who are close relatives of those suffering from GDV.


Q. What is Grey Collie Syndrome/Cyclic Neutropenia?(Excerpts taken from: "Grey Collie Syndrome" by Elwood Purcell -1969 / 1970)

A. First documented in the 1930's The grey gene is unique in that it fits no where in the "genetic map" of colors on the color chromosome because it is NOT a color. It is a symptom of a more complex condition. What would normally be a sable pup when struck by the grey gene becomes a grey ranging from pale silver (pure sable) to deeply shaded grey (mahogany sable) in exactly the same pattern and ratio as would be expected in normal sables. A tricolor when affected becomes a deep charcoal grey with pale grey facial, leg, and vent markings where tan would normally occur. Eyelids and nose leather have reduced pigmentation. So the lethal grey's color and markings obey all the genetic rules of patterned areas (unlike the homozygous merle) and amount of pigmentation except that ALL color is translated into grey. Cyclic neutropenia, a blood disorder where every 10 to 13 days on a regular cycle, the disease - fighting white blood cells disappear. No reason. And a few days later, the white cells reappear as mysteriously as they left with the puppy much the worse for the wear during the interim.During an "attack", the puppy will act listless, depressed, almost sullen. Its temperature will soar --106-107 degrees are not uncommon in grey puppies and, after medication, it is not unusual for the pup to have a normal temperature again in as little as four hours. Breathing becomes labored as fluid accumulated in the lungs. The puppy whimpers a lot. Joints swell painfully. The puppy often has horrid, foul smelling diarrhea. Also, the puppy's gums bleed and the puppy can/will lose consciousness with the high fever. Grey Collie Syndrome is a bone marrow disorder, and most die immediately or within the first 12 months. This is a recessive trait, so BOTH parents must be carriers in order to produce this, however if one parent is a carrier, its children may be carriers.Q. What is a Double Dilute (DD 'double d')?A. Double Dilute's commonly known as DD's are the result of Merle to Merle breedings (any two Merle dogs, which includes blue Merle,sable Merle, or Merle headed whites). Merling is a pleasing and interesting pattern of gray (beige, silver, in brown and blue dilutes, respectively) with black (chocolate, blue) splotches. The trait is believed to be caused by transposons, small Genetic mobile parasitic type DNA elements. They act like viruses that affect only the host’s offspring and none other.If both parents carry the Merle Gene, there is a good chance that they will have puppies with the DD syndrome. The DD puppies may look white but instead have an absence of pigment in their "white" hairs. This is why the DD collies exhibit a more washed out appearance when compared to the AKC recognized color headed white collie.The correct term for a "white" puppy from a Merle-to-Merle breeding is homozygous Merle or Double Dilute Merle. They should not be confused with WHITE Collies (color headed whites). An excellent source of reference on this subject is, The Collie - A Veterinary Reference for the Professional Breeder by Sharon Lynn Vanderlip, D.V.M. Published by Biotechnical Veterinary Consultants, 1984. Look in the color Genetics section for this information.The Merle Gene is presumably haploinsufficient, that is if one normal copy of the Gene doesn't produce enough protein for the cell to work properly, and then even a loss-of-function allele will be dominant. Thus if you double up on the Canine Merle Gene you can create Merle Homozygotes (M M) dogs. Commonly referred to as Double D, these dogs frequently show vision impaired, blindness, no eyes, hearing and brain defects as well as behavior and health problems. The Merle Gene seems to be Pleiotropy (many effects) or a Gene that affects more than one trait simultaneously rather than being a simple pigmentation Gene. Merle dogs often have blue or blue-sectored eyes, caused by the same mechanism.The Double D Shepard or Collie has been listed as extremely rare, unique, all white, special, etc.  Usually, these are not bred, but when they are bred to a Tri, they will produce a whole litter of Blue Merles, which is of interest in some breeding programs. 


Q. What is Heart Worm?

A. Heart Worm is a parasite invasion of a proper host's heart. In the larval stage of the worm, the infected host's blood swarms with the Heart Worm microfilariae or larva. A mosquito will ingest the larva along with the host's blood. When the now infected mosquito host bites other animals after the incubation period, viable microfilariae travel from the host mosquito into the bitten animals. If the animal is a proper host, the microfilariae survive. The larva burrows into the dog, and in three to four months the now adult worm travels to the right side of the heart through a vein and await the opportunity to reproduce. Adult heartworms can reach 12 inches in length and can remain in the dog's heart for several years. Female heartworms bear live young -- thousands of them in a day. These young -- the microfilariae -- circulate in the bloodstream for as long as three years, waiting to hitch a ride in a bloodsucking mosquito. The worms thrive in the chambers on the right side of the heart, veins entering the heart, arteries in the lungs, and the liver veins.Progressive signs of Heart Worm may not manifest for a year. The first sign is a soft cough during exercise which gets worse over time. The dog tires easily, begins to lose weight, could cough up blood, and may even faint when exercised in the later stages of the infection. The dog becomes a couch potato, not wanting to play or exercise. Any form of activity leaves the animal weak and out of breath. If left unchecked, congestive heart failure ensues, and the once-active, outgoing pet is in grave danger.At one time, the Heart Worm was a Warm Climate pest. But due to the nature of Dog Shows and the traveling exhibitor, Heart Worm now infests animals even into the coldest climates. Heartworm prevention costs money and requires commitment: blood must be drawn to examine for signs of infestation before the preventive drug can be given, and the drug must be administered regularly whether the daily dose or the once-a-month type is chosen. But the effort and the money are well-spent to keep a loved pet from the discomfort and debilitation of the infliction.But there are dangers in various types of Heartworm Medication for Collies and other herding breeds. Much of the concern over the safety of ivermectin began when this medication was first tested in dogs for toxicity studies. In the initial testing of ivermectin, the drug was tested in Beagles to see at what dose clinical signs of toxicity would develop. Later, these same studies were performed on Collies and it was found that Collies had clinical signs of toxicosis at much lower doses of ivermectin than the Beagles did. The signs of toxicosis seen in clinical trials varied in their severity. Early signs of toxicosis included salivation, dilated pupils, vomiting, tremors, and difficulty walking (ataxia). Severe signs of toxicosis included weakness, inability to stand (recumbency), non-responsiveness, stupor, and coma. In several of these type of studies, there were collies that seemed to react to ivermectin, and other collies that did not react to the ivermectin. It has been suggested that there are collies that are "ivermectin sensitive" and those that are considered to be "ivermectin non-sensitive" based on the results of these studies. Unfortunately, to date, no research has provided us with the ability to differentiate between the ivermectin-sensitive and non-sensitive collies.Ivermectin is not considered safe for collies by most breeders. Although Merck has recently removed its warning, there are now several cases of toxicity reactions reported from collies given Ivermectin. There have also been numerous reports of sub-clinical toxic reactions from dogs given Heartgard preventative. It is thought that there may be a wider range of sensitivity than indicated by the studies. To be completely safe, Collies should be given either carbamazine Heartworm preventative (daily dose), or the monthly Interceptor Heartworm preventative.Ascites is a fluid build up in the abdomen seen in late stages of Heartworm Disease. If a blood test or the onset of symptoms alert owner and veterinarian to the presence of this devastating parasite, treatment is possible and successful if the disease has not progressed this far. The first step is to evaluate the dog and treat any secondary problems of heart failure or liver or kidney insufficiency so that he can withstand the treatment. The next step is to kill the adult worms -- with an arsenic compound. The drug is administered in two doses each day for two days, followed by several weeks of inactivity to give the dog's system a chance to absorb the dead worms. Exertion can cause the dead worms to dislodge, travel to the lungs, and cause death. Six weeks after the administration of the drug to kill the adult worms, further treatment to kill the microfilariae is needed. The dog is dosed daily for a week , then the blood test is repeated. If microfilariae are still present, the dose can be increased. Follow-up studies should be done in a year.Q. What is Kennel cough or Bordetella?A. When a dog begins to have a dry or hacking cough, or signs of pneumonia, these could be the warning signs of Kennel Cough or Bordetella. Caused by either the Bordetella bronchiseptica or Canine parainfluenza virus, the infected animal is extremely contagious, and if left untreated the condition can cause death. Symptoms may increase in severity such as;

1. Coughing spasms

2. Fever

3. Thick Nasal Discharge

4. Loss of Appetite

5. Depression.

Dogs in stressful situations, such as over crowding in a kennel, are much more susceptible to becoming infected by these pathogens. Other contributors to a dog's susceptibility are temperature and poor nutritional status. Once a dog or puppy has been infected, their immune system may be weakened enough to a point where other diseases may also take hold. The disease will last from 10 to 20 days, but can be treated with standard antibiotics. Even when the disease has run it's course or been treated, the cough may last for weeks after.


Q. Demodectic Mange?

A. Canine Demodicosis is commonly known as Demodectic Mange which is caused by the Demodex Mite. The mite normally resides in the animals hair follicles in small numbers. There are two types of Demodectic; Localized Demodicosis usually occurs in 3 to 10 month old puppies. It consists of small patches in which well defined scaly areas of hair loss occur around the dog's lips, eyes, and/or forelegs. The second type, Generalized or Pustular Demodectic is more severe and extremely difficult to cure or control. Small patches appear, in which well defined scaly areas of hair loss spread rapidly over large areas of the body. This is accompanied by extreme itching, edema, and bleeding followed by invasion of bacterial infection. Generalized Demodicosis is caused by a hereditary genetic defect in which the 'T'-cell that normally controls the mite is weakened or nonexistent, allowing the mite to multiply in large numbers.


Q. What is a Demodex Mite?

A. The mites usually spend their entire life on a dog. The female mite burrows into the skin and lays eggs several times as she continues burrowing. These tunnels can actually reach the length of several centimeters. After she deposits the eggs, the female mite dies. In 3-8 days the eggs hatch into larvae which have 6 legs. The larvae mature into nymphs which have 8 legs. The nymph then molts into an adult while it is still in the burrow. The adults mate, and the process continues. The entire life cycle requires 2-3 weeks. The mites prefer to live on the dog but will live for several days off of the host in the environment. In cool moist environments they can live for up to 22 days. At normal room temperature in a home they will live from 2 to 6 days. Because of the mite's ability to survive off the host, dogs can become infected without ever coming into direct contact with an infected dog.


Q. What is Dermatomyositis?

A. Dermatomyositis commonly known as DM, is a systemic autoimmune (Although the immune system ordinarily recognizes and destroys infectious organisms and malignant cells, it may become "confused" and damage the host itself.) Disease that targets predominately the skin and muscles, although lung and heart involvement can occur as well. In its most severe form, this disease can lead to death and can cause considerable disability. Also, the development of DM can be the harbinger of the development of internal cancers. It appears that DM in Collies is an "autosomal dominant with variable expression." This means: A. Either sex can inherit the disease. B. Only one parent needs to be a carrier to pass it on to their offspring. C. Afflicted dogs can either show few to no symptoms, or they can show severe symptoms.If a litter has just one visibly affected puppy then one or both parents are DM carriers. This could mean that at least half of the litter mates will also have the potential for DM even if there are no symptoms. Unfortunately, there are no tests currently to differentiate the non-afflicted Collies, and those that have the disease but show no symptoms of it.Advanced DermatomyositisThe first sign of DM is usually a loss of hair on the bridge of the nose or around the eyes. Lesions and scabby,crusty areas generally also develop. The affected areas may at first appear as a "Bad Sunburn", or be mistaken for "Collie Nose". The symptoms can progress to the feet, legs and the tail. Normally, these symptoms are first noticed in an infected dog between 8 and 16 week of age, although there are rare cases of late development appearing in animals 4 - 7 years of age. In Mild cases, the skin symptoms could sometimes fade away and never be seen again. While in the more severe cases the dog will have the lesions for life. Muscle disease may develop along side the skin symptoms. Muscle degeneration is usually first noticed in the areas around the top of the head and jaw. When the disease progresses, general atrophy of the major muscles may develop affecting the neck, shoulder and hip muscles causing sever pain and weakness inhibiting simple movement.It is impossible to diagnose DM simply by looking at the dog! The visible symptoms described here could be ringworm, Demodectic mange or one of many other skin problems. A biopsy of an active lesion is the only sure way of a positive diagnosis. DM cannot be diagnosed by any other tests or bloodwork. As it is a skin disease, a Dermatologist would be the best choice to determine the disease. Yes, there are Dermatologist for animals. A biopsy could cost around $270. Antibiotics and Pentoxyphylene(a blood thinner) are commonly used to help control this disease.


Q. What is Sarcoptes scabiei?

A. Sarcoptic mange, also known as scabies, is caused by a microscopic mite. The female mite causes the characteristic intense itching as they burrow under the skin to lay their eggs. The eggs hatch in a few days, develop into adults, and begin laying their own eggs in less than three weeks. Dogs with scabies dig and bite at themselves with great ferocity. Their skin reacts with oozing sores, and secondary infection may set in, requiring treatment with an antibiotic in addition to treatment for the mites. Unfortunately, the sarcoptic mange mite can be difficult to find in skin scrapings, and unless the veterinarian parts the hair and carefully examines the bare skin for the characteristic pin-point bite marks, diagnosis is difficult. Furthermore, the presence of a secondary skin infection can hamper the search for the mite bite marks. Telltale signs of sarcoptic mange are crusty ear tips, fierce itching, and hair loss, particularly on the ears, elbows, legs, and face in the early stages. Later on, the hair loss spreads throughout the body. Sarcoptic mange is contagious to canines and humans. If the dogs share sleeping places or if the infected dog sleeps on beds or furniture, everyone will begin scratching. It is not unheard of for the family dog to infest the kids, the kids to infest their playmates, and the playmates to infest their pets and parents with scabies. Fortunately scabies in humans is self-limiting, that is the mite can burrow under the skin and cause itching, but cannot complete its life cycle on humans and dies within a few weeks. Canine skin damaged by sarcoptic mange and secondary skin infections can take weeks or months to recover, depending on the scope of the problems. Frequent medicated baths may be necessary to soothe irritated skin. Mange damage can mimic that caused by other skin conditions, including autoimmune diseases, bacterial infections secondary to flea allergies, and contact dermatitis, making it impossible for the pet owner to diagnose with any success.


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