Border Collie Collapse Syndrome*

Border Collie Collapse Syndrome is an exercise induced collapse seen in several breeds including Shetland Sheepdogs. It is not the same as Exercise Induced Collapse of Labrador Retrievers or the result of heat stroke. “Affected dogs are normal at rest and seem healthy. Typical collapse episodes begin 5 – 15 min after onset of exercise and include disorientation, dull mentation or loss of focus; swaying, staggering and falling to the side; exaggerated lifting of each limb while walking and a choppy gait; scuffing of the rear and/or forelegs, and crossing of the legs when turning.”

Researchers at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota are studying the problem. Even though the web page describing the syndrome and study primarily talks about Border Collies, participation of Sheltie owners is welcome and encouraged. There is strong evidence of the problem being a genetic trait, but it is likely to be a more complex one rather than a simple one-locus Mendelian trait. Videos of affected dogs, additional information about the problem and information needed to participate in the study may be found at the following website:

*1st posted in 2014. The research group is still accepting DNA samples from affected dogs.

Lateral lunation of the tendon of the superficial digit flexor (SDF) muscle - (hock injury)*

The SDF muscle is one that is responsible for flexion of the hind toes.  Its tendon is part of the Achilles' or calcanean tendon group at the hock.  Luxation of the SDF tendon causes intermittent hind leg lameness and swelling around the point of the hock.  Injury may occur during vigorous activity such as herding or agility.  Abnormal shape of the point of the hock (calcaneus bone) may be a predisposing factor [1].  Treatment for most affected dogs is surgical correction.  (Two websites describing the condition and treatment: Repair of Repair of SDFT Injury 1  and Repair of SDFT Injury 2).

Shetland Sheepdogs and Collies are over represented in breeds with this condition. A 2020 report on from Sweden on surgical repair of affected dogs found that 14 of the 19 dogs were Shelties. [2].  A 2002 study of over 200 Shelties found that SDF tendon luxation in Finnish Shetland Sheepdogs was likely inherited as a simple autosomal recessive trait. [1]

As of 2022, researchers at the Institute of Genetics, University of Bern, Switzerland are studying the underlying genetic cause in hopes to develop a DNA test [3].

To participate in the study, contact: Matthias Christen at: .

Additional articles regarding this condition in Shelties can be found at: .

[1] Solanti S, Laitinen O, Atroshi F: Hereditary and clinical characteristics of lateral luxation of the superficial digital flexor tendon in Shetland sheepdogs. Vet Ther. 2002 Spring;3(1):97-103. PMID: 12050833.

[2] Jury A: Surgical repair for luxation of the superficial digital flexor tendon using a temporary restraining pin. J Small Anim Pract. 2021; 62: 272-278.


Study on Inheritance of Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease*

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease (LCP) is a disorder of hip joint conformation occurring in both humans and dogs. In dogs, it is most often seen in the miniature and small breed dogs. Shetland Sheepdogs are on the list of affected breeds. The age on onset of clinical signs (lameness) occurs from 4 – 12 months of age with 9 months of age being more common.

Dr. Leigh Anne Clark, of the Clark Canine Genetics Research Laboratory, Clemson University, is studying the inheritance of LCP in Shetland Sheepdogs and DNA samples from affected dogs are needed.

If you have an affected dog and are willing to participate, please contact Dr. Clark at:

Leigh Anne Clark, Ph.D.
057 Life Sciences Facility
190 Collings St.
Clemson University
Clemson, SC 29634

More information about LCP can be found on the OFA website at:


*Posted May 2017.