What is Exercise-Induced Collapse?
Exercise-Induced Collapse or EIC is an inherited neuromuscular disorder affecting Pembroke Welsh Corgis along with other breeds. EIC presents as exercise intolerance in otherwise healthy dogs. You should notice a dragging of the dog's back legs only during exercise when an EIC episode occurs.
Dogs affected are not in pain during an episode of EIC. EIC may progress past their hind limbs to the rest of their body. In more serious EIC episodes the dog may lose consciousness, have a seizure, or in rare cases die. The episodes will generally last 5-10 minutes and most dogs will recover within 15-30 minutes.
A dog with EIC will begin to show symptoms between 5 months and 3 years of age.
What Causes Exercise-Induced Collapse?
Two inherited mutations of the DNM1 gene associated with Exercise-Induced Collapse from the corgi's parents will put your dog At Risk for EIC.
There are 3 test results for EIC:
Clear - A (Normal)
Carrier - B (Carrier)
At Risk - C (At Risk)
Clear and Carrier corgis should not be affected by EIC as Exercise-Induced Collapse is an autosomal recessive disorder. This means that two copies of the mutated gene must be inherited in order for the disease to appear. Only "At Risk" corgis have both mutated genes.
How is Exercise-Induced Collapse Diagnosed?
Affected dogs are usually diagnosed before 2 years of age and seem normal during low/moderate activity. After 5-20 minutes of strenuous activity, affected dogs will begin to walk with a wobble and uncoordinated gait that usually only affects the hind limbs causing them to drag.
Genetically testing your corgi will confirm EIC. If you're reaching out to a local veterinarian then having a video of the symptoms before going to your vet is very helpful for them to reach the right conclusion.
Breeding out Exercise-Induced Collapse
As breeders and corgi owners it's our responsibility to genetically test for diseases that affect Pembroke Welsh Corgis. Not only to loosen the grip that Exercise-Induced Collapse has on the breed, but to improve the genetic diversity.
There are multiple genetic factors to consider when breeding. We cannot simply test and breed solely on EIC status. We must not pigeon-hole the genetic makeup of the breed. In doing so we will do more harm than good.
Getting a corgi from a responsible breeder will improve you and your corgi's chances of never going through that.
What Can You Do?
Find a breeder who tests their corgis for diseases like Exercise-Induced Collapse (EIC), Ask them to see the test results, See what other testing is being done. You must advocate for your future puppy.