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Exercise-Induced Collapse Syndrome in Labs


Does your Labrador Retriever collapse after playing hard or after being involved in some form of strenuous activity? Once down, is he or she unable to get up for an extended period of time? If so, this blog posting may be for you.

In the fall of 2008, I saw a news story about a disorder plaguing many Labrador Retrievers. The story not only shared information about the disorder, but also about the recent results of a study conducted by the University of Minnesota regarding the disease. Of course, my ears perked up immediately because Daisy the Wonder Dog is a Labrador Retriever herself, and anything that could affect Daisy was something I needed to know more about.

The disease is called Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC) Syndrome and it affects many Labs. It is also being found increasingly in young Labrador Retrievers.

During EIC, the dog’s back legs collapse after a short period of strenuous physical activity and excitement. During this time, the dog does not have use its back legs, although it may pull itself around by its front legs for a short period of time. In most cases, the dog is able to get up and have full use its back legs after about 20-30 minutes of rest, however in some severe cases the disease can result in death.

The University of Minnesota Veterinary College has discovered that the disease is linked to a gene found in many Labrador Retrievers. Though somewhat complicated to explain, EIC is basically what results when there is decreased nerve transmission between a dog’s brain and its muscles after it experiences strenuous activity and excitement. While frightening for Lab owners who may have experienced this syndrome with their own dogs, it must be exciting to finally have some answers. It also means that now testing can be done to discover if a dog has this disease and legitimate and reputable breeders can now work to prevent the disease from passing on to future generations of Labrador Retrievers.

I am happy to report that Daisy the Wonder Dog does not appear to have EIC, but I am glad to have seen the news story so I could educated on the disease and pass the information on to others. I have since met two dogs with this syndrome and I am happy to report that both appear to be normal, happy Labrador Retrievers. Their owners take precautions to avoid strenuous physical activity that can lead to EIC and as a result, avoid it for the most part.
Good news to those of you who suspect your Lab may have the same disease.

More information can be found via the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine website.


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