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Exercise induced collapse.

Species: Dog
Breed: Labrador Retreiver
Age: 2-5 years
I have a labrador retriever and she is about 4 years old, 60 lbs and she is a girl. She is just mildly overweight and after running around for 3-5 minutes playing frisbee, lately (the past few days) my dog starts becoming disorientated, starts walking sideways, and starts to falling all over and collapsing. She starts to pant heavily as well; the weather has been aproximately 20 - 25 degrees celcious. After taking her home she cools down in the pool and is alright, and this does not repeat until the next time we go out and play frisbee. Is she okay? Should we be concerned, what should we do?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm sorry to hear that Chelsea is having these problems. There are a few things that this could be, but the first one that jumps to mind is something called Exercise Induced Collapse of Labradors.

This is a genetic problem. Dogs that have this condition can have weakness after 5 to 15 minutes of exercise. The condition is often worse in the hot weather.

There is a test for the gene that causes exercise induced collapse. Your vet can run a test via the University of Minnesota.

There is no specific treatment for this condition. The best thing is to avoid exercise in the hot weather. Some vets will also treat with things like carnitine, coenzyme q10 or riboflavin. In some cases, an anti-seizure drug called phenobarbital can be given.

There are other possibilities such as a serious heart condition, a condition called myasthenia gravis, something called malignant hyperthermia and also a spinal problem (i.e back pain). But, my guess would definitely be on exercise induced collapse.

I would highly suggest that you have Chelsea examined by your veterinarian. They will likely do some blood tests to get a general idea of her health and they can look into the genetic testing at U of Minnesota.

I should add that most of the patients that I have had with this problem did really well if the owners were just careful not to exercise them in the heat.

I hope she does ok!

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Hi Dr. Marie,

Thank you so much for your thorough reply, it was very helpful and useful! Is it normal for this condition to appear only after 3 or afterwards (i.e. ever since she was a puppy she used to be able to run around following my father who would mountain bike for over an hour without any problems)? Again I really appreciate this service as it is convenient and valuable.






Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

On average, the condition appears somewhere between 7 months and 2 years of age...but that's just an average. It's certainly possible to appear at 3.

So glad you find my site helpful! I hope Chelsea does ok!



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.