By Linda Cole
Labrador Retrievers have claimed the top spot on the American Kennel Club’s list of most popular dogs for the last 22 years. They are also among the most intelligent breeds, coming in at number seven. If you’re looking for a great family pet that gets along well with other dogs and cats, the Lab is a good choice. However, there are three important things to know about sharing your home with a Lab.
Labs love to play and run. Some become so wrapped up in what they’re doing they don’t slow down, even when they get tired. They can become so exhausted that they collapse. Overly excited or stressed out dogs are also at risk of collapsing. This is an inherited genetic disorder common in Labs with signs beginning to show up between the ages of five months to three years. Both sexes and all coat colors can be affected, but it seems to be more prominent in black Labs bred for field trials.
EIC was first detected in the 1990s, but this condition is on the rise and showing up in dogs that are otherwise perfectly healthy and fit for rigorous exercise. Collapse can happen within 5 to 20 minutes after beginning strenuous activities. High temperatures and humidity also play a role.
Symptoms can be mild to severe, and EIC can be life-threatening. Symptoms include: an unsteady/rocking gait, weak back legs, dragging the back legs, falling over while running, inability to move his head or legs after exercising, an abnormal movement of the feet while walking or running, front legs are stiff after collapsing, and high body temperature. Most dogs remain alert during a collapse and don’t experience any pain. Some dogs, however, may show confusion and appear disoriented. Recovery time is five to twenty-five minutes.