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Exercise Induced Collapse in Dogs… Treatment Options and Expenses.

Since you are here, you probably have a dog who collapsed after exercising and are wondering whether they have a medical condition or are just great at being manipulative to get out of exercise. And if that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place because here at IndulgeYourPet, we’ve got both dogs running around our offices!

But all joking aside…

Exercise-induced collapse in dogs is a severe medical condition that some dog breeds are prone to developing, which is why we wanted to take a moment and discuss precisely what exercise-induced collapse (EIC) is and what it’s actually like to own a dog who has been diagnosed with this condition. But before we get too ahead of ourselves, we should point out that EIC isn’t a medical condition that describes dogs who collapse once after running around for an hour in 115-degree Arizona weather.


It is a genetic disease most commonly found in Labrador Retrievers and requires a much larger rap sheet of collapsing frequently after 5-10 minutes of exercise. But suppose your Labrador frequently collapses after short, vigorous exercise. In that case, they might have the condition known as exercise-induced collapse, which is when a dog collapses during or after strenuous activity.


Most Labradors recover entirely and return to normal after collapsing in about thirty minutes. Still, there are copious cases in which dogs have died from this condition, which is why folks should never underestimate this condition if they feel that their dog may have it. Now, while we here at IndulgeYourPet always encourage folks to take their pet to a veterinarian anytime they suspect that there may be something wrong with their furry little buddy, it’s essential to be able to recognize some of the signs that might indicate that your Lab has this condition. This way, you can provide better insight about your dog’s health to your vet once you visit them.

Symptoms associated with EIC may include a variety of motor deficiencies immediately following strenuous exercise. These deficiencies may take the form of:

  • Collapse,
  • Difficulty walking,
  • Shaky legs,
  • Muscle weakness,
  • “Abnormal” levels of lethargy or fatigue.

It is important to note that…

Even if your four-legged friend does have EIC, they may not collapse every time they encounter intense exercise. This is why it may be tricky (and costly) for your veterinarian to diagnose immediately. It may require several visits before they are confident your dog suffers from EIC.

What causes EIC?

EIC is caused by a mutation of the dynamin gene found on chromosome nine of a dog’s DNA. This mutation is responsible for fainting and collapsing in the affected dogs’ heat. You may be wondering.

“If my dog has EIC, will its puppies automatically have it, too?”  

The answer is… Probably not, since EIC is an autosomal recessive trait unless your dog’s partner also has EIC or is a carrier, the puppies will not be affected!

Which means that…

Provided that you choose to work with a “reputable” dog breeder, chances are they should be able to guarantee that any of their puppies won’t develop this condition. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help folks who fell in love with a Lab that exhibits these characteristics, leading us to one’s treatment options.

The bad news about this disease…

Is that there is no cure? The only available treatment is no mild to moderate exercise with your pet. Dogs with this condition should stay away from getting their body temperature up too high to avoid any episodes of collapsing. One last ditch solution is to give your pup phenobarbital, which them down. It limits their excitement, which reduces factors that cause the collapsing collapse. We’re not suggesting that this be your chosen option, which brings us to a critical point that we should bring up….

Which is…

We at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians, or medical professionals. We are all a bunch of folks passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them. And since every dog is different, even if it did have medical training, it would be highly inappropriate for us to make any recommendations about treating your pet without first meeting them.

This is why…

We always say, “When in doubt, have a vet check it out!” This way, you can ensure your buddy gets the best care possible. This brings us to the last topic we wanted to focus on for a moment: pet insurance. You see, visiting a veterinarian can be expensive. Visiting one numerous times trying to nail down an elusive diagnosis and treating a do with medications for the rest of their life can be even more costly!

For this reason…

We always like to remind our readers about the importance of purchasing a pet insurance policy on all of their pets so that they won’t have to pay 100% of the vet bills on medications and expensive vet visits if their loved one ever becomes sick or injured.

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “Best” pet insurance policies, please check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

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