Border Collie aging
Posted 18 February 2010 - 11:02 PM
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?
Posted 18 February 2010 - 11:15 PM
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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Posted 18 February 2010 - 11:57 PM
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.
Posted 19 February 2010 - 12:30 AM
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.
Posted 19 February 2010 - 05:54 AM
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!
Celt, Megan, and Dan
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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.).
Posted 19 February 2010 - 08:11 AM
Jack, Chilli, Zoe, Riverglen's Drama Queen, Lietash's MOTH (ManOfTheHouse), Fluke
Posted 19 February 2010 - 08:47 AM
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In Memory: Sammie, Speedy, and Maddie
Posted 19 February 2010 - 12:23 PM
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