Miniature Australian Shepherds have a wide genetic range since they are a breed that was bred for their skills as a shepherd and not for their appearance. This gives them greater breadth in crosses and selective breeding is not as exhaustive, which is the main cause of Miniature Australian Shepherd health problems.
The Miniature Australian Shepherd is a variety of the Australian Shepherd, so it shares many diseases with the latter; it also has a series of pathologies specific to its size and its own genetics. Most are very healthy and do not develop problems, however, it is good to be aware of the appearance of certain diseases.
To maintain the health of these pets it is necessary to have the proper care; they are beautiful animals whose long hair and level of activity require their owner a certain level of commitment to keep them in shape. Also being small dogs, they greatly enjoy the company of people, so keeping them clean is a fundamental task.
Their shepherd nature makes them require great activity to stay stimulated, otherwise, they get bored easily so they can develop unwanted destructive behaviors. Keeping them exercised, active and stimulated is part of the responsibilities of a Miniature Australian Shepherd owner.
- 1 Miniature Australian Shepherd Health Problems
- 2 Eye Problems
- 3 Eye Problems for the Selective Crossing of the Merle Pattern
- 4 Orthopedic Problems
- 5 Necessary Care for Miniature Australian Shepherds
Miniature Australian Shepherd Health Problems
This breed is quite healthy but they have a certain number of diseases that are inherent to their genetic inheritance. Most of them are not of great importance, such as those of the ocular type, others are more severe and limiting, such as those of orthopedic origin.
Some of the eye diseases are related to the particular genetics of dog coat with the merle pattern, which can appear when they’re crossed with each other. The general recommendation is to avoid this type of crossing and for the coat color to appear naturally.
Miniature Australian Shepherds are vulnerable to a bacterium that causes an infection difficult to treat and that affects them for life, being very contagious to other dogs and can even affect humans. They also suffer from allergies that can cause severe alterations and dryness in the skin, as well as severe reactions to medications.
It is an alteration in the iris muscle that is characterized by the appearance of holes or slits in it. Depending on the size it has, it can cause anything from sensitivity to light to deterioration of visual abilities.
They are the product of a congenital opacity of the lens that is accompanied by an abnormal and early deterioration of the tissue of the same, causing a gradual and progressive deterioration of sight, reaching blindness between 2 and 5 years.
This is usually the result of multiple colobomas that give the pupil this oval appearance. It can cause mild to moderate sensitivity to light that can lead to moderate loss of vision.
Persistent pupillary membrane
At birth, all dogs have a membrane that covers their eyes; around 8 weeks this membrane completely detaches and the puppy opens his eyes. In the case of this disease, this does not occur and the membrane partially or totally persists. This causes alterations and limitations of the sight.
Eye Problems for the Selective Crossing of the Merle Pattern
It is a total absence of the eyeball.
Collie eye anomaly
It is a condition that appears in Australian Shepherds but is very common in Collies, hence its name. This results from the simultaneous appearance of different types of ocular conditions, such as the coloboma of the iris, the detachment of the retina, the small eye, and the coloboma of the optic disc.
Detachment of the retina
In this condition, the retina detaches from its vascular base causing a partial loss of vision.
Progressive retinal atrophy
This is a gradual deterioration of the retina. It is diagnosed during the adolescence or youth of the dog; it is even possible that at 6 to 8 months the puppy is blind. Regardless of the age of diagnosis, it is not possible to cure it and it will always end in blindness.
The eyeballs are smaller than they should be. It usually appears in the Collie eye anomaly, and rarely appears alone.
They are relatively frequent problems; they are hereditary and congenital. Depending on their severity they can be very painful and limiting or go completely unnoticed by the owners. If either of the two appears in your mini Aussie it is necessary to notify the breeder where you acquired it so that they do not continue to cross the parents.
This is a dislocation of the hip joint, where the head of the femur does not fit in the acetabulum. It is hereditary and congenital, but it can go unnoticed, especially if it is mild and does not present obvious symptoms. All animals that are used for breeding must be certified by a trained veterinarian that they do not have it before crossing them.
The patella is part of the knee joint; it is a small floating bone that gives stability to it. This pathology in itself is not congenital but appears as a result of certain deformities in the bones of the knee that lead to dislocation over time, where this bone comes out of its place and causes instability in the joint.
Allergies and other problems
Mini Aussies are allergic to fleas; when they are affected by them, reactions appear on the skin that cause injuries and dryness. They must be treated to eliminate them, otherwise, they can affect the general health of the dog and deteriorate the coat.
They are particularly sensitive to the drug called Ivermectin that is used as a treatment for certain parasitic diseases, and can cause severe reactions in dogs that can lead to death. This is why any treatment should never be applied without consulting a veterinarian.
Another disease to which they are sensitive is brucellosis, a bacterial infection that is very difficult to treat, causing alterations in the reproductive system leaving them sterile. It is mainly sexually transmitted, so before crossing the animals they should be tested so that the disease is not transmitted.
Necessary Care for Miniature Australian Shepherds
To give them the quality of life and ensure good health, there are certain essential cares that must be given to all Miniature Australian Shepherds, with these their life expectancy can be up to 12 and a half years.
Small breed dogs need to have top quality hygiene; they are animals that enjoy getting on the furniture and on the laps of the people in their home. Being so active and vigorous, the mini Aussie dogs enjoy the outdoors that they can get very dirty.
Dental hygiene is very important, small dogs have a greater tendency to form bacterial plaque and tartar which causes bad breath, something that can be very annoying when they want to fill you with kisses every time you carry them.
It is necessary to brush them at least once a week. This can be very annoying for them and complicated for their owners. Therefore, practice brushing with positive motivation when they are still puppies, and once they get used to it, they will associate it with something Okay.
Vaccines and deworming treatments
During the first year of life, it is advisable to visit the veterinarian with some frequency to ensure that they comply with all the necessary vaccination schedules. It is also good to know what the medications are and how often to do the following.
It is very important to prevent topical parasites because flea allergy can be severe. The ideal solution is to apply topical treatments and always consult with a veterinarian about which products to use.
These dogs are extremely active animals. Do not let their small size fool you; they can do everything a standard Aussie would do, so their energy level requires an adequate amount of exercise to make them feel satisfied.
Ideally, they should go for a walk at least an hour a day, every day. When possible, taking them to a park where they can run freely or play retrieval games can drain a lot of energy.