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Clinical Overview

Exercise-induced collapse (EIC) is an inherited disorder of nerve and muscle that was first identified in Labrador Retrievers. It is caused by a mutation in the DNM1 gene, and is characterized by exercise intolerance in otherwise normal dogs.

Clinical Signs and Severity

Signs are usually first noted in young dogs, most frequently between 5 months and 3 years of age. Affected dogs appear normal during low to moderate exercise, but develop clinical signs including weakness, wobbliness, and incoordination after strenuous exercise, particularly in the hind limbs. In severe cases, short-term full body collapse and muscle weakness can be noted. The episodes typically last 5-10 minutes, and most dogs will recover completely within 15-30 minutes.

Severity of the disorder is mild to moderate for the majority of dogs. Dogs are not in pain during collapse or after recovery. Affected dogs are generally unable to continue training or competition, but can live relatively normal lives if exercise and excitement are limited.

Factors Contributing to Collapse in Affected Dogs

  • Ambient temperature or humidity is much higher than what the dog is used to
  • Extreme excitement or stress
  • Exercise that is continuous, intense, and accompanied by high-level excitement or anxiety

Commonly Affected Breeds

  • Boykin Spaniel
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Curly Coated Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  • German Wirehaired Pointer
  • Mixed-breed dogs