Abby is a young teenager living in Australia who has two passions in life – photography and her half-tail border collie, PIppa. Unfortunately, Pippa has a little-known health condition called exercise-induced hyperthermia syndrome, which prevents her from doing what all border collies love to do – to run free. Despite all that Abby is determined to show the world how truly beautiful and amazing Pippa is and has taken to Instagram to express her creativity and love for her beautiful friend.
Hello everyone! My name is Abby and I am a sixteen year old High-School student living in Australia with my immediate family members. Photography has always been a passion of mine, one in which I hope to pursue in the future. My love for this career received a huge boost in 2014 when a gorgeous dog entered my life and I found within her not only a best friend, but a unique modelling opportunity. Pippa is a half-tail Border collie, who is currently one-and-a-half years old and is simply a bundle of joy. I couldn’t have asked for a better companion.
Today, I have chosen to teach this community about a syndrome in dogs that I was not aware of when choosing to own a border collie. It has greatly impacted the way I personally interact with my dog; however, I have learned how to live with it and believe it is important that others should know how to do so as well.
Exercise-induced hyperthermia syndrome (commonly known as Exercise-induced Collapse or EIC) is a condition that can be found in several breeds of dogs. These include; most commonly Labrador Retrievers, Boykin Spaniels, German Wire-haired Pointers, Old English Sheepdogs, Cocker Spaniels, Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Border Collies and Australian Shepherds. I will be talking specifically about this condition in Border Collies, however, which is genetically different to other breeds. It is a neurological disorder in which strenuous exercise may trigger a collapse episode.
Dogs with EIC will become disoriented, confused, sway, stagger, or even fall to the ground after just a few minutes of vigorous exercise. They commonly develop a stiff, stilted gait with short strides in the rear legs (or all four legs). These episodes can last from a few minutes to half an hour, after which the dog returns to its normal healthy state. Once recovered from an episode, no residual lameness follows or muscle stiffness, and absolutely no discomfort.
Unfortunately, Pippa has this syndrome.
We first noticed that Pippa’s walk was different from normal, as her back legs were always stiff and she trotted at an odd gait. We did not think much of this at the time as she was not in any pain and it did not affect her daily activities. However, she was only six months old when she collapsed entirely after simply chasing a tennis ball for five to ten minutes. We took her to the vet with concerns that she may have Hip Dysplasia or perhaps something worse. We made plans for an x-ray, but after consistent research, we discovered EIC and the symptoms were exactly what we had been experiencing with Pip.
Pippa is now one-year and six-months and she has only had one collapse in the last four months. We’ve learned by watching her behavior how long is too long when chasing a ball and we have been able to stop her participating in this activity before she reaches the point of falling. Because of this syndrome, Pippa is unable to participate in agility activities such as playing with a frisbee and how often we throw the ball to her has decreased significantly. As a breed that requires several hours of activity, it has been difficult to find alternative outlets for her pent-up energy. Instead, we have replaced these activities with mental stimulation and long walks. Making sure that we avoid extremely hot days and over-excitable situations is also important as both heat and excitement seem to impact the length of time she can last without collapsing. If Pippa does happen to accidentally collapse, we make sure that she has immediate access to plentiful water as well as shade. Cooling the dog down with a shallow bath also helps in extreme cases.
As I have stated, it has been months since Pippa’s last collapse and all that was needed was for us to understand her situation and exercise requirements. She is an extremely happy dog, and she is living a healthy life.
Any questions or inquiries? Do any of your fur-babies have these symptoms or have you heard of EIC before? I am more than happy to answer or help in whatever way I can. Please feel free to contact me on Instagram: @bcpippa.
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About This Book..
Historically, Border Collies are known as a working dog breed. Due to this very fact there are certain dog behaviors and instincts particular to Border Collies only. These behaviors and instincts define the personality of the dog. Understanding these behaviors and instincts is imperative if you desire a well-trained/behaved dog. This book is based on years of experience and thorough research helping you to choose, raise, train and live in harmony with your Border Collie. This book has been written by truly taking into consideration the breed as well as its abilities as this aspect is often ignored by owners of this dog. The content of this book will provide you with an insight of how a Border Collie relates and interacts with its owner and the outside world. Once you’ve read this book, you’ll be better equipped to own and take care of a Border Collie so that it becomes the wonderful companion it’s meant to be!