NEW STUDY: Exercise-induced collapse syndrome in Border Collies
Contributed by Dr. Susan Taylor
University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

An exercise-induced collapse syndrome similar to the EIC syndrome in Labrador 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, particular 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. 


Investigators at the University of Saskatchewan (Drs. Susan Taylor and Cindy Shmon), the University of Minnesota (Drs. Ned Patterson and Jim Mickelson, and Katie Minor) and the University of California, San Diego (Dr. Diane Shelton) are involved in a large-scale project to investigate this disorder.  The objectives of the project are to (1) establish clinical, hematologic and biochemical parameters for normal Border Collies participating in a standardized exercise protocol, (2) to evaluate dogs with BCC participating in a standardized exercise protocol to determine clinical or clinicopathologic markers for BCC at rest or after exercise that will help veterinarians diagnose BCC and help us understand the cause of collapse, (3) to fully describe the clinical features of BCC to facilitate recognition by dog owners and veterinarians, (4) to evaluate the heritability of BCC, (5) to determine the genetic cause of BCC, and (6) to develop a genetic test for BCC to aid diagnosis and to allow breeding decisions to be made to avoid producing affected pups.

We are currently undertaking the exercise studies in normal Border Collies and collecting questionnaires and DNA (EDTA blood) samples and pedigrees from Border Collies suspected to have BCC. If your Border Collie has had 2 or more episodes of exercise intolerance or collapse that may be BCC, please go to the following website for the Canine and Equine Genetics Lab at the University of Minnesota:
1. Click on Exercise Induced Collapse under Canine Research
2. Click on EIC in Border Collies
3. Select the Sample Submission Form and Questionnaire, and fill out the questionnaire online.  Print a copy for yourself and one to send with the sample.  Instructions for collecting and shipping the DNA sample, and forms to accompany the sample shipped to the laboratory in Minnesota are also available on the website. If you have a video of your dog having an episode of collapse we would also like to have the opportunity to view that.

When you send a DNA sample in from your dog, realize that there will be no "test result" forthcoming. The DNA will be used to achieve our long term goal of identifying the genetic cause of BCC.

We are also looking for 14 severely affected dogs to participate in the exercise phase of our study in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada. This will involve travel to Saskatoon, radiographs, EKGs, and clinical and blood tests before and after retrieving a ball for 10 minutes, followed by a muscle biopsy.  We will start this phase of the study as soon as we receive funding to offset the cost of the testing and dog travel. We anticipate this will be in 2011. Please contact Dr. Taylor if you are interested ( 


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