March 09, 2005


A breeder needs to be aware of the hereditary diseases in the breed, and to test for at least the common ones. The Cambridge Veterinary School database on inherited diseases in dogs lists the Australian Cattle Dog as:

  • Hip dysplasia - Lameness in hind legs and gait problems.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy - Loss of night vision progressing slowly to total blindness.
  • Sensorineural deafness - Congenital deafness.
  • Elbow dysplasia - Swollen painful elbows and lameness.
  • Lens luxation - Luxation (eversion) of the lens accompanied by glaucoma and pain.
  • Ceroid lipofuscinosis - Progressive loss of night vision followed by neurological deficits and blindness.
  • Polioencephalomyelopathy - Seizures, spastic paresis by 5 to 6 months of age. Vacuolar degeneration cerebellum, brain stem, spinal cord.
  • Portosystemic shunt - Vascular shunt bypassing liver leading to toxic encephalitis.

How are defects inherited? Through the genes. New DNA tests for inherited diseases in the dog are steadily increasing, as our understanding of canine genetics gets more detailed.


Anne said...

Is Polioencephalomyelopathy what your puppy had? How common is that, I've never heard of it.

Marj said...

It's very rare, I think. I've only been able to find two articles on it in vet journals.