The Question:

There have been some incidences during training where a search dog, specifically a Labrador retriever, collapsed during training. There has been some concern about a collapsing syndrome in Labradors, and the possible problems associated with this.

Our Response:

The disease you may be referring to is called Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC), which is seen in Labrador retrievers who are otherwise healthy and very athletic. There are many possible causes for collapse episodes in dogs, and these need to be checked in an effort to discover the underlying cause of collapse. EIC used to be a diagnosis of exclusion (ruling out all other possible causes) but a blood test is soon to be available to identify both carriers and affected dogs.

Veterinarians Diane Shelton and Susan Taylor have been involved with the study of this disease and written articles about EIC, and have kindly allowed us to place their information here. The section about EIC in Dr. Shelton’s article in the Veterinary Comparative Orthopaedics and Traumatology Journal is reproduced with permission from both the author and the publisher. Dr. Taylor also has a footnote added at the end of her paper.

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