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Collie mutation?


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Did any of your new seeervices carry the AP article by Randolph E. Schmid about the mutation in the genes of collies?


The main point, cleverly hidden in the version I read, is that these dogs have "a potentially fatal reaction to 20 commonly used drugs."


The article talks about "collies", then has a picture that is captioned as being the 9 breeds that are involved:




Shetland sheep dog

Australian shepherd

English shepherd

miniature Australian shepherd

long-haired whippet

old English sheepdog

Silken Windhound (which the article note was "developed" in the 1980s)


No mention of border collies.


Are they not related? Do they not suffer from these fatal reactions? WHAT!

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Go to the source:



and click on the 'test is now available" link to learn more.


They don't mention border collies specifically but with the common ancestor of rough & smooth show collies and border collies, it is possible that some of our border collies carry the mutation.


WSU will test your dog for the mutation for $60. They send you a special swab, you swab the inside of their cheeks, let the swab dry out and then send it back to them. I'm doing it for my lassie collie. I probably should do it for my border collie, too, but it's known to be common in lassie collies, so Willow will be first.


Deanna in OR

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Some of y'all may have contributed to this research. Back on 2/14/03, I posted the following on this forum:


The following is posted on behalf of:


Katy Robertson

Veterinary Genetics Laboratory

University of California at Davis

(530) 752-3864





The Veterinary Genetics Lab (VGL) at UC Davis is recruiting DNA samples from dogs who have a known sensitivity to Ivermectin and related compounds. The VGL, in collaboration with Dr. Katrina Mealey of Washington State University, has developed a new test to determine if a dog is Ivermectin-sensitive or a carrier of the trait.


Ivermectin sensitivity has long been reported in Collies, but it has also been reported in other breeds, including Border Collies. We have tested a large number of dogs from many breeds and have documented the mutation in several breeds, but we have not seen the mutation in the Border Collies. We would like cheek swab DNA samples from Border Collies that are suspected to be sensitive to Ivermectin or Immodium (one of the related compounds) so that we can determine if these dogs have the same mutation.


At this point in our study we would like to obtain cheek swab DNA samples from dogs who are suspected of being sensitive to Ivermectin. If you can help us with our research, please contact:









For more information on Ivermectin-sensitivity in Collies, please see:



Deb at Iron Pheasant Farm posted that she'd be sending in a swab from her dog who'd shown sensitivity to ivermectin. Others may have done the same. My guess about the reason why border collies are absent from the breed list would be that they didn't find the mutation in the border collie samples that were sent in.

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Approximately 3 of every 4 Collies in the United States have the mutant mdr1 gene. Initial studies have shown that the frequency is about the same in France and Australia, so, it is likely that most Collies worldwide have the mutation. The mutation is present in other herding breeds, but at a lower frequency than in Collies.


Source: WSU Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory: Multidrug Sensitivity (e.g. ivermectin)



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