If you know someone who has a herding breed or a dog who might have some herding breed mixed in (such as Australian shepherd, German shepherd, Sheltie, Corgi, Border collie, smooth or rough-coated collie, Bearded collie, etc) please tell them that there is an identified gene that causes an extreme toxic reaction to the drug used in the heartworm medication called Heartgard (the drug is called Ivermectin).
This drug is used for a few issues, including some forms of mange. If you think you may have some herding breed DNA in your dog (or if you want to make sure your dog doesn't have this gene) there is a DNA test you can order from the Univ. of Washington, online, and it costs $70. Here is the url for it:
I have a blue merle Sheltie, and we know for sure that blue merle dogs of any kind should not be given Ivermectin (Heartguard). So I'll use an alternate heartworm prevention medication for him. I'm having my Borzoi tested as an extra precaution, since Borzois are known to be sensitive to certain medications (and way back in time, Borzois were created as a breed using-- among other breeds-- collies. Silken Windhounds are known to be one of the breeds at risk for Ivermectin sensitivity, though Borzois aren't on the list. I'm getting her tested anyway). I know my lab/golden mix is fine.
|Ginger nearly died from Ivermectin toxicity|
If you have a mixed breed dog adopted from a rescue group, you may not really know what your dog's DNA composition is. It's good to know about Ivermectin sensitivity and the availability of this test.