Hereditary Cobalamin Deficiency in Border Collie Dogs

Border collies often live for 12 to 15 years.
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If you're looking to welcome a border collie lovingly into your household, get some key background information on the herding breed. While these diligent dogs generally are sturdy and robust, they do have some genetic dispositions to certain health conditions. Cobalamin deficiency is just one such example.

Cobalamin Importance

Cobalamin, which also is called vitamin B12, is an essential nutrient in the canine diet, according to veterinarian Shawn Messonnier of the "Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats." The vitamin is necessary for various operations, including proper nerve cell functioning. Vitamin B12, in conjunction with vitamin B6 and folic acid, also decreases amounts of homocysteine within the blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid that is associated with heart disease. Vitamin B12 is extracted primarily from animals, although it's also found in some vegetables.

Border Collie Susceptibility

Border collies as a breed are susceptible to cobalamin deficiency, according to veterinarians Richard A. LeCouteur and Andre Jaggy, authors of "Small Animal Neurology." This susceptibility, which has autosomal recessive factors, exists due to malabsorption that pertains to the ileum's enterocytes. Border collies aren't the only breed vulnerable to hereditary cobalamin deficiency. Australian shepherds, giant schnauzers, Chinese shar-peis and beagles all are predisposed to the condition, as well.

Cobalamin Malabsorption

When dogs have cobalamin malabsorption, it means that the vitamin is difficult to be drawn in via their intestines. Although this malabsorption frequently appears in border collies, it's uncommon overall. Some typical indications of malabsorption of B12 include exhaustion, problems in adding weight and anorexia. These indications generally show up when border collies are between 4 and 6 months in age, according to the website PetMD. Giant schnauzers usually are a little younger than border collies when they first exhibit signs of the deficiency (between 6 and 12 weeks old).

Veterinary Care

If you own a border collie and are worried that he might have cobalamin deficiency, schedule an appointment immediately with a veterinarian for evaluation. If it turns out that your pooch, indeed, has deficiency, the vet can come up with an appropriate management plan for her. Treatment of this deficiency often involves irregular administration of parenteral cobalamin for the full duration of an animal's life, according to veterinarian Susan M. Cotter, author of "Hematology." When veterinarians check dogs for possible cobalamin deficiencies, they generally use a variety of different methods, including urine examinations and blood counts alike.