Pet Wellness Guides > Australian Cattle Dog Health Issues - Pet Insurance Review

Australian Cattle Dog Health Issues

Posted: 10/06/2023 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Dog , Health problems , Pet care

According to the Guiness Book of World Records, the oldest living dog was an Australian Cattle Dog who lived to be 29 years old! That is an impressive age for a dog. But this feat doesn’t suggest that Cattle dogs don’t have their own set of health issues pup parents should be aware of. In this article we’ll cover the most common Australian Cattle Dog health issues to be aware of.

Key Points

  • Australian Cattle dogs are highly intelligent and very energetic.
  • The breed requires high amounts of intense exercise to thrive.
  • Cattle dogs are prone to eye issues, some of which may lead to partial or total vision loss.
  • This breed is prone to developing hip dysplasia, a painful condition that can sometimes require surgery to correct.
  • Von Willebrand disease is a hereditary bleeding disorder common in Australian Cattle Dogs. 

Australian cattle dog health issues

Thinking of Getting an Australian Cattle Dog?

Australian Cattle Dogs are known for being incredibly intelligent and having an energetic personality. Descended from the dingo and bred to herd animals, these awesome dogs come in two distinct colors – blue and red speckle. These are often referred to as “Blue Heeler” and “Red Heeler.”

Cattle dogs are stocky and muscular. Just looking at them you can instantly tell they were built for strength, endurance and stamina. Because of their build and high energy, Australian Cattle Dogs require a lot of exercise and do best with extended sessions of hiking, running, fetch, or agility training. Because of this, the breed needs someone who can keep up with them and lives an active lifestyle or has a farm and needs a herding animal.

Now that you know a little about the energetic requirements of these dogs, let’s dive into the most common Australian Cattle Dog health issues:

Eye Issues

This breed can be predisposed to developing progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). PRA is a form of degenerative ocular disease and there is no cure or treatment for the disease. While it is not painful for the pup, it progresses to blindness.

We should mention that as long as a dog’s environment remains constant, they can do very well adapting to a life with partial or complete vision loss.

If you’ve noticed your Cattle Dog has begun to run into things or you have any concerns about their vision, have them checked out by your veterinarian.

Orthopedic Issues 

Some Australian Cattle Dogs may develop hip dysplasia, which describes a condition where the hip joint becomes loose and unstable. As the dog ages, they will most likely experience hip arthritis and pain. 

Signs of hip dysplasia include:

  • Pain
  • Decreased range of motion in the hips
  • Decreased activity
  • Limping in the rear limbs

In mild cases, hip dysplasia can be managed with a joint supplement and/or pain medication. In severe cases, surgery may be required.

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 Von Willebrand Disease

Von Willebrand disease is a hereditary bleeding disorder common in Australian Cattle Dogs. The condition is caused by a deficiency in the pup’s blood platelet levels, which makes it difficult for their blood to clot properly. 

This disease does not negatively impact the dog’s day to day life. However, Von Willebrand disease can turn a small cut into an emergency, since the dog can bleed profusely. If your pup is ever diagnosed with this disease, you will need to stay diligent regarding any injuries.


Australian Cattle Dogs are one of those breeds that is more prone to developing allergies. As with humans, dogs with allergies have an immune system that overreacts to certain stimuli. They may have an allergy to a certain food or an environmental allergy. The only way to really pinpoint what a dog may be allergic to is to do several rounds of blood tests.

Dogs with allergies usually experience skin itchiness and irritation, inflammation and some mild discomfort. Certain lifestyle changes can help keep these symptoms at bay, or your vet may recommend allergy relief medications.

Final Thoughts

Australian Cattle dogs are strong, energetic, and loyal animals. But they, like any other breed, come with their own set of health conditions to be aware of. It’s a good idea to ensure your pup gets a yearly check-up so they can be monitored for any of these common conditions. Work with your vet to make sure your Cattle dog gets the proper nutrition and level of exercise.  With the proper care, these wonderful pups can live for many happy and healthy years.

Pet Insurance Can Help Your Australian Cattle Dog Live Their Best Life!

No matter how hard you try to ensure your pup is as healthy as they can be, there are those things that happen in life that we don’t expect. A sudden accident or illness can take a pup parent by surprise and cause real emotional and financial stress.

If you’re suddenly faced with a vet bill for thousands of dollars, will you be able to pay it? What if it’s for lifesaving treatment?

A pet insurance plan gives pup parents peace of mind. Imagine having 90% of your vet bill paid for by someone else.

If you’ve been thinking about getting pet insurance for your pup, here are the top providers based on reviews from pet parents just like you:

Top Pet Insurance Providers of 2024

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The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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