Friday, February 12, 2010

Exercise Induced Collapse in Border Collies

If you have a border collie that has episodes like Piper does the University of Minnesota wants to hear from you. Check out their website for information on submitting samples. Your dog does NOT need a pedigree to be included in the study.

"An exercise-induced collapse syndrome similar to the EIC syndrome in retrievers has been recognized in Border Collies and may be called Border Collie collapse (BCC) or exercise induced hyperthermia. It is most common in dogs used for working stock but has also been seen in dogs training for agility or flyball competitions and in dogs repetitively retrieving a tennis ball. Affected dogs are normal at rest and seem healthy but become abnormal after five to fifteen minutes of strenuous activity, particularly in warm weather. Some dogs will develop a stiff, stilted gait with short strides and others will become wobbly and then collapse. Some dogs develop a balance problem or are mentally abnormal during an episode, and a few dogs have died during collapse.

This syndrome has not yet been well characterized so we are uncertain whether this is a metabolic, muscular or nervous system disorder. Affected dogs are negative for the dynamin 1 mutation causing EIC in Labrador Retrievers.

If your dog has had 2 or more episodes of collapse we would like your help as we try to describe the syndrome and search for the genetic cause. Please take the time to fill out the questionnaire and send us a DNA sample and pedigree from your affected dog. If you have a video of your dog having an episode we would like to have the opportunity to view that as well."


Emma Rose said...

Holy cow! That's amazing. Piper has had 2 episodes, right? At least you know now that you are not alone in this mystery. Thanks for the information.

RaisingRiver said...

Yep, not alone. River has done that several times - probably about 5 and within the last 2 years, I make sure it NEVER happens. I bring my own tub of water to every disc event and she goes in it EVERY time after her runs - even if it was only 5 long catches. :) Thanks for the link.

CelebrityPixx said...

Hi from Australia. My beloved agility bc has had 4-5 of these strange leg stiffening wobbly attacks over the last few years. I am extremely worried about this condition affecting his trialling career as he is a once in a lifetime dog to us. They seem to be brought on by extreme excitement coupled with exercise but tonight he had an attack with very little but massive excitement as my husband was using a loud grinder and he went nuts over it. Im very stressed as we are flying him to the other side of the country for the agility nationals soon and he is terrified of flying like most dogs. I just hope the stress doesnt bring on an attack!! I am holding my breath on the latest research findings when they become available. Cheers from oz x

Anonymous said...

Dear CelebrityPixx, please forgive me if I'm being overly neurotic, but yikes! Your BC has had 4-5 these collapses, and one merely stress-induced...? I do appreciate how much work and training you've invested in agility trials, but you are talking about the stresses of long flights and competition in Australia's hottest season. Again, forgive me if I'm overstepping, but is competing in the nationals worth the risk of losing your dog? :-\

The Border Collies said...

To be fair everyone, nobody knows what causes these episodes, which is in part is the point of the study - to see if there is a genetic marker, or if it's something else altogether. Piper was well over 6 years old before she did it the first time, and since those two episodes, we've not experienced it again. Nobody knows exactly what it is - WHAT stressor will induce it, WHICH circumstances will set the dog off ... putting the dog in a bubble is not the answer. Piper experienced her episodes playing ball, but has never done it while playing agility or working sheep, or at flyball. Should she never play ball again? If it's induced by excitement, should she spend the rest of her life on a leash in a white padded room? My point here is, don't be too quick to judge. Many dogs who suffer from this condition, whatever it is, can go on to continue doing what they love, with precautions. A frisbee game could set it off, but a flight across the country may not. We just don't know. And to be clear, this is not the same as heatstroke, and there's no proof it's damaging or fatal. Many dogs have long working and performance careers with this problem from time to time, so please - don't assume anyone is endangering their dog by continuing to play with them :)

Michelle said...

I've never heard of this before. I bet this is scary to witness, especially when you don't know what's going on. Eeek!

Jenn said...

Love, love, love the new posts recently. It's been fun to watch Dexter grow and change!

Has anyone looked at diet in these cases? There's been a few studies done on hypoglycemic collapse of working dogs fed primarily a raw diet or high protein/extreme low carb diet. If these dogs are exercised within 30-90 minutes after a meal, they can become severely hypoglycemic, collapse, and in extreme cases, may die, because protein is not converted to usuable blood glucose as fast as carbs are. Protein takes much longer -around 1.5 to 2 hours.

As an FYI, Hilary Watson recently published an article on this in her newsletter, and suggests working or performance dogs be fed carbs prior to competition or strenuous exercise.

This is why high performance human athletes eat carbs prior to competing. Yay, pasta! :)