Exercise-Induced Collapse (EIC)
EIC will cause your dog to collapse after a few minutes of rigerous excercise
EIC is especially of interest to those intending to use their Labradors for field work or want to train them for field trailing.
Labradors affected with EIC develop muscle weakness, lack of coordination and are prone to mild-to-severe collapse that can range from dragging of the hind legs to complete life-threatening collapse after just five to fifteen minutes of strenuous exercise.
Therefore Labradors affected with EIC usually cannot continue with strenuous retriever training but may live good lives as pampered family pets.
The excitement of field work may be too much for an EIC affected dog.
Dogs affected with ECI can be affected by:
- Temperature: If the temperature is much warmer or the humidity is much higher than what the dog is used to, collapse may be more likely.
- Excitement: A dog’s level of excitement plays a role in inducing the collapse.
There are some severely affected dogs that, if very excited, do not require much exercise to induce the collapse.
Dogs with EIC are most likely to collapse when engaging in activities that they find very exciting or stressful.
- Type of Exercise: Routine exercise such as jogging, hiking, swimming, waterfowl hunting and even agility training are not very likely to induce an episode in dogs with EIC.
Activities with continuous intense exercise, particularly if accompanied by a high level of excitement or anxiety most commonly cause collapse.
Testing for EIC.
If your Labrador exhibits any or a combination of these:
- Weakness after 5-15 minutes of strenuous exercise.
- Lack of coordination.
- Dragging of rear legs.
- Dazed or confused appearance.
- Falling down on one side.
- Difficulty maintaining balance.
Then it advisable to have them tested for EIC
EIC is an inherited genetic trait and can now be tested for.
Prevention of EIC
The EIC mutation is fairly prevalent (25%) in Labrador Retrievers and is seen in some of the most successful field trial lines, thus it unreasonable to suggest breeding only dogs that are “clear” of this mutation.
However, “affected” dogs should not be bred, and “carrier” dogs should only be bread to “clear” dogs. Whenever a dam or sire of a litter is a known carrier of EIC, puppies should be tested before 7 weeks of age.