Labrador Retrievers – Name A Genetic Disease Associated With Exercise

This beautiful girl is Daisy, a Labrador Retriever.  Daisy likes to spend her days chasing balls and dumbbells in the backyard.  She races after toys with the unbridled joy common to hunting dogs.  Her energy knows no bounds.  Unfortunately, not all labs share Daisy’s endurance.  During strenuous activity, some will suffer from a neurolgic condition that affects their rear legs.  Name the disease?  Your knowledge of labs is superior if you can name the gene that causes it.


Diagnosis:  Exercise-Induced Collapse (E.I.C.)

E.I.C. is caused by a mutation in a gene called dynamin 1 or DNM1.  This gene is thought to impact nerve function during exercise.  In affected dogs, exercise coupled with excitement causes hind limb weakness that progress to collapse.  In rare causes, the condition might progress to the front legs.  Most dogs return to normal with rest.      

Before breeding or using a dog for water work, I recommend testing all Labrador, Curly-Coated and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers for this condition.  Blood, cheek swabs, dew claws or semen may be submitted to The University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Lab for analysis.  According to the U of M, up to thirty percent of labs may carry the recessive gene. Five percent of the population is thought to display clinical signs.  So far there is no cure for this condition.  Prevention through limitation of exercise and excitement (good luck with a lab) is the only option in affected dogs. 
Sources:  Patterson E.E., et al, A canine DNM1 mutation is highly associated with the syndrome of exercise-induced collapse, Nat Genet. 2008 Act;40 (10)1235-9.  

University of Minnesota, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Genetic Test for Exercise-Induced Collapse (E.I.C.)  pamphlet.            

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.

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