Gizmo, the Australian Shepherd at our Rancho Cordova Clinic

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This is Gizmo, photographed with two of his best humans at our Rancho Cordova clinic in the Bradshaw area. The Australian Shepherd is a dog breed which originated in the 19th century American west and not really in Australia. The name may come from the fact that they were used to herd sheep which were imported from Australia but they did not originally arrive with those imported sheep. ‘Aussies’ have a mixed lineage including indigenous North American dogs, European herding dogs (which came along with European flocks of sheep) and after the Gold Rush including Spanish herding dogs. It has also been said that later, during the period of their use in Australia, some Australian breeding was also introduced to some lines of the breed. They are intelligent, trainable, willing, loyal and work well in all climates and altitudes. Colors include Tri Color, Bi Color, Blue Merle and Red Merle. Watch out for excessively white Merle coloring as this is a genetic anomaly called ‘Double Merle’ or ‘Lethal White’ and comes with problems including deafness and blindness. This condition also includes a gene mutation which makes some excessively white Aussies intolerant of high doses of Ivermectin or Trifexis but not the moderate doses as used in Heartworm prevention. In any case, Gizmo has perfect color distribution and this warning about excessive white is for reference regarding other Australian Shepherds and NOT Gizmo!

– Geoffrey Antipa

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