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Border Collie aging

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#1 JoshH


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Posted 18 February 2010 - 11:02 PM

Hello all,

My Border Collie is now 11 years old, he has not been kept as a working dog but just as my companion. I worry about arthritius and other problems. What specific Border Collie health issues can occur and also possibly from him not being active as a working dog?


#2 juliepoudrier


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Posted 18 February 2010 - 11:15 PM

Hi Josh, and welcome. I don't think there are aging issues specific to border collies--at least not those that have been kept mainly as companions. There are some things you can do to support him nutritionally as he ages, and you might want to consider putting him on joint supplements (glucosamine/MSM/chondroitin) if you're concerned about arthritis.

My biggest concern with a dog who isn't real active would be weight. Overweight can shorten the lifespan, and it also puts extra strain on the joints and heart. So if he's not been active and he's overweight, I would work to get him thinner. Scientific studies have shown that thinner animals live longer. You should be able to feel his ribs when you run your hands lightly down his sides. Viewing him from above and from the side should show a clear waist (hourglass from above, obvious tuck behind the rib cage from the side).

If he's got a cough, I would have him checked by the vet for heart issues. At his age, it also wouldn't hurt to get a complete blood profile done (CBC and chemistry) so you have a baseline to compare against if he starts having problems as he gets older (it will tell you how his kidneys and liver are functioning, as well as if he's got anything going on with his immune system, anemia, etc.). I would do this now and then yearly thereafter unless he develops an issue that would require bloodwork sooner.

Beyond that, I would try to keep him as active as possible (physically fit = healthier) and keep his mind engaged. He's never too old to learn new things. Make sure he's getting a good quality food and just pay attention to any changes in appetite, activity, sight, hearing, and so on. If he's basically a healthy dog, he should just go through the normal aging stuff: hearing starts to go, he may develop cataracts, he may become arthritic. He's still got a few good years left in him!


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#3 diane allen

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 11:57 PM

Julie pretty well covered the basics.

You may also want to look down a few posts for this one, where lots of people have posted their "aging dog's behaviors". If and when they show up, you'll know you're not alone! Many of these things are NOT border collie-specific.



#4 nancy


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Posted 19 February 2010 - 12:30 AM

Hey, 11 is still a puppy!

Our Fergie turned 14 in December. The vet thinks he should use her as an example to other dog owners. She still has the obvious tucks looking from the side and from the top. In fact, we wonder is she is now too thin. But she has her annual check-up next month.

And she is definitely just a pet. Ask Julie about my trying her on sheep. Her regular jobs are carrying in the morning paper and then the mail. She also lets us know when it's meal time - and tells the cat to yell at us if we are slow about dinner.

Yup, she has arthritis. If she gets up and her back right leg won't work, we no longer panic. So she doesn't either. Heck, I have arthritis. Luckily, just in my fingers. Let's not mention DH. It couldn't be as simple as arthritis. Despite doctors who suggest glucosamine and exarcises, it must be something like cancer of the knees. Men.

#5 Sue R

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 05:54 AM

Welcome! And what Julie said!

Our last couple of dogs lived full lives until they were fifteen - active, weight under control (I wish I could say the same for me), and engaged with us. Sure, old age and aches and pains (they were cattle-working dogs, and both had had some lumps and bumps over the years) did reduce what they could do but we kept them busy, measured their food, had regular vet visits, and they had happy lives.

You will find a lot of good advice on these boards. Glad you are here, and best wishes with your senior companion!
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#6 Jack & Co.

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 07:02 AM

At his age, it also wouldn't hurt to get a complete blood profile down (CBC and chemistry) so you have a baseline to compare against if he starts having problems as he gets older (it will tell you how his kidneys and liver are functioning, as well as if he's got anything going on with his immune system, anemia, etc.).

I agree!
To err is human, to forgive, canine.

#7 AmandaMJL


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Posted 19 February 2010 - 08:11 AM

Julie's post sums up everything I would have said completely. I can't stress enough how important a blood profile would be to do. My lab is turning 11 this year and I've done one roughly every year and a half for her since she was 7.
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#8 Root Beer

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 08:47 AM

I second and third the blood panel, as well. I learned the hard way that if something abnormal is found and you have no baseline, you are left with a lot of unanswerable questions!

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#9 bc friend

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 12:23 PM

Welcome! Old age is such a bittersweet time in your dog's life but it also one during which your bond with your is very special. You've gotten a lot of good advice on keeping your older dog healthy. None of us like to see the effects of old age, arthritis, hearing and vision problems, etc. but with a little extra TLC on your part, your dog can have a comfortable old age. My vet considers regular exercise to be key in maintaining quality of life for your older dog - obviously the exercise has to consistent with your old dog's abilities; it helps keep the weight down, gives your dog stimulation (new sights, sounds, smells), keeps him/her in touch with the messages left by other dogs in the community, etc.

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