Sunday, 21 October 2012

Border Collie Collapse

I haven’t blogged for a while as I have been busy working with Rum.

Unfortunately I had some bad news.  On a couple of occasions recently he has collapsed, once after agility training and once after playing ball with Cas.  When I say collapse, he gets the wobbles and looks like he is drunk, the last time it happened he did eventually collapse on his back legs.

At the same time I had not long read an article on Agilitynet about a condition called Border Collie Collapse (BCC) which seemed to have exactly the same symptoms.  I videoed his ‘episodes’ and emailed them to the researchers in America who agreed it looked very much like the condition but unfortunately there is not yet a gene test for this, there is a similar condition in Labradors called Exercise Induced Collapse and there is a gene test for that, however they have discovered it is not the same gene in collies. 
He went into the vets to have all the standard tests to rule anything else out, they were very thorough and he had a full MOT – everything came back normal.  So it is assumed he is suffering from BCC – it is just a shame there is not a gene test yet so we definitely know, the videos were sent to a specialist neurologist who said it also looked like it and couldn’t think it could be anything else so there wasn’t any point referring him.
The vet gave me some information the neurologist had provided them with and suggested supplements being Co Enzyme Q10, L-Carnitine and Vitamin B2.  He is a right druggy.  The vet suggested I gradually increase his exercise to see if the supplements make a difference, there hasn’t been much research done so they don’t really know either way whether they do help at all. 

We were told his agility days are over but having now mentioned Rum’s condition in a public forum it seems there are a fair number of agility dogs suffering from this who continue to compete as long as they are kept a close eye on.  With Rum this means not queuing (as queues stress him out and stress can trigger an episode) and not competing in the blazing heat (doesn't happen much in this country and he always wears his swampie).  So, over winter I am going to gradually increase what he does and see how he goes, we never compete anyway over winter as he can’t cope with indoor venues.  He has never had an episode at a show, it has only ever happened when he has done a lot of agility training so I am 99% sure competing wouldn't hurt him, it is just whether I can train with him and keep him ‘agility fit.’ 

I love my boy so much, he is my shadow.  When I take them for a run he will literally bounce by my side with a toy in his mouth like Tigger, it doesn't matter what the others are doing he won’t leave my side.  If he can’t cope with agility then at least I still have my shadow and we can still enjoy many happy years together :)

On another note Ember is 9 ½ now, she has had a really good year, qualifying for the Circular Knockout at the UKA Grand Finals, Dovedale Speed & Power 2013 and also TAG Brace 2013 (with Cas).  Although we started the year having nailed the contacts a bit better, they seemed to slip towards the end of the year so again they need more work!
Cas will be 13 the beginning of 2013, she’s still quite fit and active, she has been a little arthritic in this colder weather but once she’s moving she’s fine.  I hope she can still enjoy veterans for a little longer as she loves it, although she isn't up to medium height so will only be running in shows where she can run over small – I was a little surprised at Dashin Dogs where the large dogs had to run over medium and it was then I realised it was too much – at the beginning of the year medium had been okay for her.