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Border Collie Collapse vs. Heat Stroke / Hyperthermia?

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There are many things humans choose to do which cause some animal suffering but ultimately lead to overall improvement in animal welfare.

 

training a border collie for livestock work

blood tests

inoculations

shearing sheep

 

 

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My dog Dexter had an episode last night at agility class. His first of the year. It was warm, but not overly so as it's been unseasonably cool here this June and today it's sprinkling on and off. That's life with a dog who experiences this. My dogs don't work livestock, but their "job" is agility, so it's a side effect of what he does (sometimes). I don't deliberately force him into an episode, but sometimes when he's engaging in our chosen activity, he has one, so I guess in a way I 'purposefully induced" it. Had I a video camera with me, and were I participating in the study, I might have videoed it then as well. I don't see how it's any different - it's just *life* when you have a dog that has BCC.

 

RDM

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What about dogs held in shelters or kennels?

What about dogs crated overnight while their owners sleep in another room?

What about seeing eye dogs sitting next to their blind owners in an air conditioned office all day?

etc.

 

Dogs who are held in confined area all day and every day without proper opportunity to relieve themselves and to exercise are subjected to unnecessary suffering. BCC prone dogs should not be forced to become "couch potatoes", as referenced above by Ms. Poudrier. They need supervised and monitored exercise. Those are my beliefs.

 

Response to Mr. Billadeau's following (second) post: Dog training, blood tests, shearing sheep and inoculations that induce an episode of medical disorder, when the animal is already known to be prone to such a disorder, should be reconsidered. Can the animal be trained for a shorter period of time, at a different time of day, under modified conditions so that symptoms will likely not appear? Can the medical treatment/testing or shearing be accomplished in a way that probably won't induce an episode of the disorder? When those questions can be answered in the affirmative, then to continue with unmodified testing/treatment, shearing, and training, is bringing about unnecessary suffering. That's where I'm at.

 

Exercising a BCC prone dog in a way that inadvertently/accidentally brings about an episode of BCC, is altogether different from intentionally inducing symptoms without the presence of appropriate medical supervision/monitoring. Bad things sometimes happen, and dogs undergo BCC symptoms despite our reasonable efforts to avoid them. RDM, I'm sorry your dog has the syndrome, and wish both you and your dog the best. -- Kind regards, TEC

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I think Mark's training comments were more directed at the risk to the sheep when training dogs. If one reasons that one should not do things that might cause unnecessary suffering to an animal, well, then one can't very well train a dog to work, since some unnecessary suffering--even if it's just stress--might be caused to the sheep. Unless you (the general you) has the perfect dog who never places a foot wrong, then you've caused unnecessary suffering while training. That's my larger objection to your generalized thinking about the deliberate causation of suffering. At least the people videotaping their BCC dogs were doing so with an eye toward the greater good--an understanding of the problem and perhaps even a solution. Can anyone who trains dogs for trialing say the same about their motivations?

 

I know you tried to limit your comments to animals who might have a medical disorder, but frankly, deliberately causing unnecessary suffering applies to a lot more than just pre-existing medical conditions.

 

J.

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TEC,

 

I'm a bit behind on this topic but wanted to have my say. One of the videos of a mild episode of BCC on this site is of my dog Zeke:

 

 

FWIW, I am a scientist with a PhD in biochemistry as well a clinical laboratory degree (BS MT(ASCP)) and experience in laboratory medicine. So even though I wasn't wearing a white lab coat, I have one :) Blood and other clinical parameters had been tested on this dog in the past and were all normal. Also, FWIW, I did not induce this episode. Sometimes, even after years of experience, it's difficult to tell what will precipitate an episode. In this instance, when I saw it had happened, I went to the house and got a camera. Fifteen minutes after the video he was completely recovered and perfectly normal. As has been said, this dog was functional enough to work and run big challenging Open courses such as Edgeworth with no problems. He retired at a normal age. It's a strange syndrome.

 

I've long been interested in this problem in border collies and have been a strong supporter in the research to discover the cause. I wanted to help others recognize these symptoms so I did the video. I believe all who contributed videos to this site had the experience with the condition in their dogs to know they were not at risk.

 

 

ETA I never saw this dog exhibit any symptoms until at least five minutes after he had stopped working.

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Ms. Wall, thank you for taking the time and effort to further explain video linked to veterinary school website. Personally feel better about Zeke, and so sorry he evidently has the disorder. Why couldn't the vet school have provided more background on each of the videos, and how they came to be? In speaking with knowledgeable experienced friends since this thread began, I was surprised the disorder may be one of the more serious breed problems, and that additional effort should be directed toward it. Scientists with credentials such as yours will likely pave the way toward responsible research.

 

This discussion re: BCC wants to broaden to include whether sheep are unnecessarily subjected to stress via dogs-in-training, trialing and farm-work. Does every little flaw on the part of dogs' herding maneuvers constitute deliberate infliction of suffering for no good reason? I'm not ready to go there. Farmers/ranchers use dogs to move stock, for instance, from one pasture to another in order to manage their property, benefiting stock, land, farmer's family, as well as those who use/consume sheep and cattle products. That, IMO, is a pretty noble purpose. Will a beginner farm-dog, trial dog or dog-in-training unjustifiably grip (or do something that causes unreasonable stress) from time to time against his handler's wishes? It's going to happen, yet handlers/farmers do not purposely have dogs unacceptably grip or otherwise overly stress animals. Responsible dog handlers take reasonable measures to prevent stock injury/stress.

 

Those who primarily breed and trial as a part of their livelihoods, sell wonderfully trained/bred dogs to farmers/ranchers, as well as to other enthusiasts. Sheep dogs are an important column supporting meat/fiber/milk/etc production for our country and the world. -- Kind regards, TEC

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Farmers/ranchers use dogs to move stock, for instance, from one pasture to another in order to manage their property, benefiting stock, land, farmer's family, as well as those who use/consume sheep and cattle products. That, IMO, is a pretty noble purpose. Will a beginner farm-dog, trial dog or dog-in-training unjustifiably grip (or do something that causes unreasonable stress) from time to time against his handler's wishes? It's going to happen, yet handlers/farmers do not purposely have dogs unacceptably grip or otherwise overly stress animals. Responsible dog handlers take reasonable measures to prevent stock injury/stress.

I don't want to get into a discussion of training vs. anything else, but your argument was against deliberately causing distress to an animal, in this case, dogs with BCC in order to further a cause, in this case, a determination that the problem exists and what it looks like so that researchers could then try to figure out the root cause and what can be done about that. Most people would consider medical research to be a noble cause, especially that research that can also benefit humans (not saying this is the case with BCC, but other research currently being conducted with/for border collies could). But people who have dogs affected by various diseases/conditions being researched now no doubt think that research is pretty noble too.

 

So the point, which you seem to be missing, was that it is not consistent to accept that deliberately causing distress to an animal in the name of training (in this case the animal is of course NOT the dog) because we recognize that there's a greater good (the ultimate ability to manage stock in a less stressful way for them) is no different than deliberately causing distress to an animal in order to research a disease process, which is also a greater good and a noble purpose.

 

It's been argued here before about what's acceptable in the course of training, and I have no real desire to rehash all that, but consider teaching a dog to grip. And if you think there aren't trainers out there of the "rip and tear" sort, you're sadly mistaken. Not to mention those who train with shock collars or severely punish dogs for disobedience (such as holding a dog under water for leaving work to get water). It's naive to believe that handlers/farmers always make the fair, kind decisions (for the dog or the livestock) when training.

 

But the point is that as a society we generally accept some distress, loss, etc., for the greater good in most things, and in that sense there is no difference between the example of training a dog on stock or of continuing to work a dog known to have BCC, knowing that at some point a line might be crossed and the dog will exhibit symptoms. So my entire disagreement with you is about consistency of thought regarding when stress is acceptable, and not about specific training issues.

 

J.

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So my entire disagreement with you is about consistency of thought regarding when stress is acceptable, and not about specific training issues.

 

Coming from the perspective of a pet owner, I have an issue with it being considered harmful to keep my non working Border Collie in an air conditioned house all day while I am at work. I'm pretty sure Quinn would disagree with that assessment of his snoozing on the comfy chair by the window in a climate controlled setting. :lol:

 

In answer the question several posts ago as to what do with our Border Collies when it turns warm, Quinn and I walk for an hour in the morning (this does nothing for him other than he enjoys taking in the sights but it is good for me), we play in the shade as much as possible, we play short games, he has ready access to water, and we go to the beach where he can play in the water. If it is really hot, he only plays in the morning and evening. After seeing Quinn stagger and becoming unsteady after overdoing exercise a few times , I am very vigilant about how he is holding up to lots of exertion, especially in warm weather. I've known a number of dogs who have died from heat stroke so it is something that freaks me out a bit. As an aside, Quinn's "real job" is to be my companion, something at which he excels.

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This discussion re: BCC wants to broaden to include whether sheep are unnecessarily subjected to stress via dogs-in-training, trialing and farm-work. Does every little flaw on the part of dogs' herding maneuvers constitute deliberate infliction of suffering for no good reason? I'm not ready to go there.

What are your views on the learning classes at sheepdog trials in reguards unnecessary stress on livestock?

How about the stress on livestock to train dogs that will never be used for managing sheep in a production operation (i.e. weekend trialers)?

How about the rodents used in "go to earth" trials or live birds used in field trials?

Many medical treatments cause stress/pain/suffering (i.e. surgery) but can be for a greater good.

 

There are many, many examples where humans cause stress under controlled conditions on animals for what can be rationalized as being for a greater good. Simply saying we should never do anything which can cause stress on animals is unrealistic; however, we must manage the stress and it should not be done simply to cause stress.

 

The videos in question had/have a greater good in defining/describing BCC, gathering participants for a clinical trial, gathering samples for a genetic study, hopefully finding the genetic cause of BCC which will allow us to eliminate it in our gene pool (clearly a "greater good").

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A huge difference exists between responsible use of herding dogs to move stock, and allowing a dog to continue in such a way that it excessively stresses them. Same for responsible research techniques, contrasted with those that unreasonably induce suffering without the presence of adequate safeguards.

 

Clearly, operating under the mantle of "Research" or "Food/Fiber Production" does not allow a free rein to unreasonably exacerbate suffering or induce excessive stress to animals. It has to be responsible work, regardless of field. What is excessive/reasonable to one person may be proper in another's eyes. Differences of opinion and respectful disagreements are part of what made this wonderful country.

 

Some folks may believe getting a BCC-prone dog exercise, knowing it will exhibit symptoms almost every session, is OK. Others will hold to the belief that exercise should be carefully and reasonably monitored/supervised, and that effort should be made to avoid symptoms. Similar opinion differences exist among people regarding proper use of dogs to move stock, and what constitutes excess.

 

Reasonable medical treatment that collaterally causes significant discomfort, has little connection with my view of the issues under discussion. Is the treatment reasonable and necessary?

 

Began my portion of this thread saying that I had specific personal beliefs and opinions. They are mine, and you are not expected to change your minds to fit my world-view. Fundamental beliefs continue, and have not drifted. -- Kind regards, TEC

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I was surprised the disorder may be one of the more serious breed problems, and that additional effort should be directed toward it.

What more, in addition to ABCA funding of the clinical trial which established BCC was not heat stroke/hyperthermia and now the genetic study, should be done?

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What more in addition to ABCA funding of the clinical trial which established BCC was not heat stroke/hyperthermia and now the genetic study should be done?

 

Mr. Billadeau -- I re-read the above question several times, yet do not understand what is asked? Could you rephrase/clarify it, and I will try to respond. Perhaps it's not directed to me.

 

Regarding your earlier post about specific training techniques. IMO, use of sheep for herding dog training has a good purpose, and the question then becomes whether a certain dog and sheep are behaving reasonably. It's very fact specific. I can't answer the question completely, without more information.

 

I have heard of ground training, and don't know enough about it to respond. Same about use of birds.

 

Recreational herding: Again, too fact specific to reply. To me, it's part of the overarching purpose of providing food/fiber/meat, but not as directly as use of dogs in farming activities. Recreational herding can be done responsibly. Every dog and handler move sheep differently, so it's pretty hard to generalize. -- Kind regards, TEC

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First question (I added punctuation to earlier post), you state more should be done on BCC research. I ask beyond the clinical trial (for which the discussed videos were made) and the ongoing genetic study (both supported by the ABCA) what more should be done.

 

Recreational dog sport involving some other animal: in all cases the other animal (prey animal) is being exposed to stress for the sake of recreation of humans and dogs. When said recreation does not eventually lead to benefit of the prey animal, in your opinion is the stress forced on the prey animal acceptable?

 

Specific example: Novice-Novice, ProNovice, Ranch

If breeding decisions should only be made using dogs capable of running an open course and since stress is forced upon livestock to run these courses, in your opinion, of what benefit are the learning classes to livestock?

 

I am trying to get at where and why you have drawn the line between acceptable forced stress/pain/suffering and unacceptable.

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First question (I added punctuation to earlier post), you state more should be done on BCC research. I ask beyond the clinical trial (for which the discussed videos were made) and the ongoing genetic study (both supported by the ABCA) what more should be done.

 

Recreational dog sport involving some other animal: in all cases the other animal (prey animal) is being exposed to stress for the sake of recreation of humans and dogs. When said recreation does not eventually lead to benefit of the prey animal, in your opinion is the stress forced on the prey animal acceptable?

 

Specific example: Novice-Novice, ProNovice, Ranch

If breeding decisions should only be made using dogs capable of running an open course and since stress is forced upon livestock to run these courses, in your opinion, of what benefit are the learning classes to livestock?

 

I am trying to get at where and why you have drawn the line between acceptable forced stress/pain/suffering and unacceptable.

 

 

My guidelines to analyze activities subjecting animals to stress/injury/disorder symptoms/etc : Is the extent of negative impact reasonable? Is the activity necessary, such that it benefits a good justifiable purpose? Is negative impact necessary for that particular animal? Is the activity done with sufficient safeguards present, in the event things do not go as intended? Is the activity supervised/monitored so that unintended consequences are less likely to occur? Are there reasonable alternative ways to conduct the activity which mitigate negative impacts to animal? Is the harmful impact directly intended, or simply an infrequent mistake, or unfortunate unintended consequence of something beneficial to, for examples, dog, other animal, handler, breed and/or society? Do you believe issues should be added, or removed?

 

Does a hierarchy of good purposes exist? Is food production more worthy than pure recreation? Is veterinary research to benefit a breed a greater good than benefit to a particular animal? Perhaps you can put all the benefits in order. Every segment of society will come up with varying lists. In fact-specific circumstances in which over-arching purposes are low, small negative impacts may be unreasonable, and vice-versa. It's likely a sliding scale, so that all detailed facts become important, and generalizations are almost impossible.

 

You asked about training terrier dogs that go-to-ground. Without more information regarding the sport/activity, the prey animals, and purpose sought, I can't venture an opinion.

 

Beginner/intermediate level herding dog trials: If most the questions in the above analysis can be answered appropriately for each circumstance, seems to me that such competition, including training for it, is sufficiently connected to testing specific dogs within a breed, gaining experience/training for handler and dog, breeding and therefore is tied to food and fiber production. Recreation is a fine purpose, as well. What do you think?

 

Certain there are numerous scholarly books written on animal ethics, and responsible research techniques. Above are my opinions (because you asked). Those who wish to learn more, should read/study books and other materials. As mentioned before, my intent is not to change anybody's mind about the subjects.

 

What more research should be done? As previously said, I just recently learned about extent of BCC issue within the breed. You would have to ask veterinary scientists. I would like to see more funding for existing research, and entities in addition to ABCA supporting it. I would like to see research guidelines established for required background/explanatory material about each video published next to videos such as those which started this discussion. -- Kind regards, TEC

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What more research should be done? As previously said, I just recently learned about extent of BCC issue within the breed. You would have to ask veterinary scientists. I would like to see more funding for existing research, and entities in addition to ABCA supporting it. I would like to see research guidelines established for required background/explanatory material about each video published next to videos such as those which started this discussion. -- Kind regards, TEC

I am in personal contact with researchers and they are getting the funding they have requested for their work. Those associated with the BCC project are the only researchers working on BCC. Universities, fed, and state governments have had for decades established research/ethics guidelines for using animals in studies; these guidelines are periodically reviewed and updated.

 

No one knows the extent of BCC in our breed; I suspect an incidence rate of <1%.

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I would like to see research guidelines established for required background/explanatory material about each video published next to videos such as those which started this discussion.

 

Because it was too much trouble to read the entire page of explanation that the video links were actually on? So you'd rather that same information appear next to each video (once the link has been clicked) for the folks who couldn't trouble themselves to read the page on which the links were included? If people won't read that page, why would they bother to read the same explanatory information placed next to the video?

 

J.

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I have thus far maintained my part of this discussion on high ground. If Poudrier and Billadeau want to get down in the valley, I know where it's at, and they have proven they are already there and waiting. They took the initiative at road markers 41 and 42 (post numbers above) to go off the highway, onto a narrow rutted road, wrongly believing it's a shortcut to genuine leadership.

 

Poudrier and Billadeau haven't learned how to behave themselves in public. You know what they say, how you just can't take some people out of the house.

 

Is Billadeu's above remark about "leading a horse to water" and Poudrier's comment ("Because it was too much trouble to read the entire...") poorly phrased attempts to say what I have stated from the beginning -- I won't stray from fundamentals, and don't expect to change their minds. Remarks, such as Poudrier's, inferring I am lazy, is the first refuge of a person who has given up arguing the merits of a disagreement. They both forgot, or didn't read, my post 18 in which I asked whether they saw explanatory material about each individual video, stating whether the BCC came-on inadvertently, and whether veterinary personnel were available to intervene if the dogs got in medical trouble. No reply, and that was a long while ago. Two of the folks who made the videos have contributed to this thread, providing information that was not included in the videos themselves. Poudrier and Billadeau should look at the videos themselves. At least two of them have nearly no explanations, and the others are incomplete. The vet school website merely says that videos for BCC research were sought, and explains about the research itself.

 

Researchers IMO should take a look at updating the guidelines to include a provision calling for background explanations for each individual field video used in studies.

 

Let the researchers determine what the prevalence of heat/exercise/stress related disorders are. -- Best wishes, TEC

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Two of your issues with the videos are background information (asked and answered by reading the website presenting the videos) and vet available for intervention while making the videos. Those of us who know, own, or have seen dogs with BCC know what intervention is needed and a vet is not required. This was confirmed by the BCC clinical trial which indicated full recovery (to normal behavior) was accomplished with cooling and rest within 30min. This information is also available (posted) by those researching BCC.

 

The link was provided to all and yet some have not chosen to study this information prior to debating from a position without supporting data (hence post #42).

 

BTW I do not need to see BCC in a video since I have seen and dealt with it in person.

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Two of your issues with the videos are background information (asked and answered by reading the website presenting the videos) and vet available for intervention while making the videos. Those of us who know, own, or have seen dogs with BCC know what intervention is needed and a vet is not required. This was confirmed by the BCC clinical trial which indicated full recovery (to normal behavior) was accomplished with cooling and rest within 30min. This information is also available (posted) by those researching BCC.

 

The link was provided to all and yet some have not chosen to study this information prior to debating from a position without supporting data (hence post #42).

 

BTW I do not need to see BCC in a video since I have seen and dealt with it in person.

 

I disagree about what information is provided at this page:

 

http://www.cvm.umn.edu/vbs/faculty/Mickelson/lab/EIC/bordercollieEIC/home.html

 

Further two of the videos are nearly devoid of information about whether the symptoms were intentionally induced, and whether a vet was present.

 

Billadeau, look at the explanatory material and/or lack thereof, associated with each individual video. You've got to do that, or you will continue to make statements which are not supported.

 

The web page provided above merely gives a summary of the findings concerning BCC. Again nothing about each individual video. Are we looking at the same website page? -- TEC

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1. The dogs were allowed to do something they love/enjoy to do which lead to the event which was recorded. With BCC dogs it's not about trying to induce symptoms but trying to prevent symptoms (no harm was done-see #2)

2. A vet is not needed (see bolded portion of quoted text from website below)

3. Vidoes are listed on a website for BCC with severity title

4. No need (or requirement) for futher explanation beyond what is on website

 

 

Dogs with BCC have normal physical, orthopedic and neurologic examinations at rest. Dogs with BCC and normal Border collies develop alterations in rectal temperature, hematologic, biochemical, blood gas and acid base parameters that are very similar to those previously described in normal exercising Labrador retrievers. No abnormalities have been detected in serum electrolytes (sodium and potassium), blood sugar, blood cortisol, ability to ventilate, or heart rhythm that can explain the collapse in dogs with BCC. Dogs with BCC and normal Border collies all develop very high body temperatures (often >41.7C, >107F) after 10 minutes of strenuous exercise, but they cool down quickly when exercise is halted. Normal and BCC affected dogs are negative for the dynamin 1 mutation causing EIC in Labrador Retrievers. Thus far no differences between the normal dogs and the dogs with BCC have been identified except that the dogs with BCC exhibit gait and mentation abnormalities as described above. Dogs with BCC remain abnormal for 5 to 30 minutes, but then recover completely with no residual lameness or muscle stiffness or discomfort.

 

In summary...

 

"Dogs with BCC have normal physical, orthopedic and neurologic examinations at rest."

"Dogs with BCC remain abnormal for 5 to 30 minutes"

Dogs with BCC "recover completely with no residual lameness or muscle stiffness or discomfort".

 

Yes, we are looking at the same website but we are clearly not seeing the same website.

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My Stella wil do this on occasion, usually when there is high humidity. It actually happened the other day, while we were shearing. The temp was not all that hot, but it was very humid. She really hadnd't done that much, had just run the sheep up to the pen, and helped me get her in...I was starting to shear when I turned around and Stella was trying to get into a shallow rubbermade water bowl that I use for the chickens. Her eyes were looking wonky, and she was very ataxic, hind legs crossing over each other, and one actually looking a little stiff. I immediately let her into the back yard, and got her to some water, sat with her on the steps of the pool. Her recovery was fairly quick.

 

As to the videoing of these 'events', I do have to say that I watched Denise's vid., and I know she loves her dogs (no doubt in my mind) but it did kind of concern me that looking like the dog was in some kind of heat induced distress, she didn't attempt to get him cooled down immediately (it would have never occurred to me to get a camera, and I'm a photographer!) I wasn't there, so I have no way of knowing just how serious it was...just know that seeing Stelly's eyes like that and her staggering, made me want to get her cooled off ASAP. Once again, no disrespect intended to Denise, but would be curious as to her reasoning.

 

As to the events themselves, both Denise's dog and my dog Stella exhibited symptoms, that are/were reminiscent of 'tying-up' in horses. I worked in polo for a lot of years, and saw a fair amount of tying up. Although it happened in both sexes, mares seemed to be affected more than geldings, and they usually were the more high strung, hot mares that would get hit pretty hard. (and just read a bit more of the article, and they mentioned the same thing, so guess it's pretty common)

 

http://www.thehorse.com/pdf/factsheets/tying-up/tying-up.pdf

 

Here is part of an article on tying up, I would think that "Exercising in hot, humid conditions

(potentially related to electrolyte

imbalances)." would be a pretty good guess as to the cause...

"Tying-up occurs either unexpectedly/

sporadically or it can be a chronic, ongoing,

and frustrating problem. Sporadic

exertional rhabdomyolysis is potentially

caused by such factors as:

■ Overexertion (exercising beyond the current

level of conditioning).

■ Sudden changes in training regimens.

Exercising in hot, humid conditions

(potentially related to electrolyte

imbalances).■ Dietary issues. Diets high in soluble fibers

(high grain diets), low in selenium/

vitamin E, electrolytes and/or minerals.

■ A recent history of a viral respiratory

tract infection (influenza).

 

ETA Went back and read all three pages ;-) and watched all the vids. I see that the videos were requested for research, fair enough; I would still have to wonder why it would appear that no water was provided or made available to the dogs in any of the videos? That's the first place Stella went when she had her episode a couple of weeks ago, tried to squeeze herself into a tiny bucket...and from the vids it looked to me like those dogs were looking for water as well...dunno. It seems to me a blood draw would have been of more practical use than a video.

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TEC,

I did not call you lazy. I simply pointed out that there was plenty of information on the page from which the videos were linked. If you think I'm trying to be insulting, then you just don't know me, but of course I can't control your thoughts, so believe what you will. It's like the "Read Me First" page that's all over this forum. Most people don't bother and then ask questions or make statements and are surprised by the answers they get, when had they read "Read Me First" they wouldn't have been. I see this all the time, and not just here. People don't bother to read what's been presented and then decry the lack of information. Maybe it's part of our sound bite culture where no one wants to take the time to read a bunch of information. I'd like to think that if you were really concerned about the issue, you would contact the researchers and ask your questions there. Obviously you don't care to listen to those of us who either know these dogs and their owners or have experience with BCC, so maybe getting the information straight from one of the researchers would set your mind at ease.

 

By the way, my name is Julie. I'm not sure why you think it's acceptable to refer to me by my last name here, unless it's your own attempt at returning a supposed insult in kind.

 

J.

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Mark and Julie

 

Thanks for being so patient.

 

Diane~

Ditto from me. I made a decision a couple of weeks ago not to post unless I had something to say that either needed to be said or hadn't been said before and might be of help. I have a tendency to rant, and I realized this is not the place to do it.

 

Both Julie and Mark are generally well-spoken, polite, and above all knowledgeable. Sometimes it's hard to tell strong feeling from criticism. But the "old-timers" here have earned respect - mine anyway. Best to give them the benefit of the doubt if something they say stings a bit. Wise words can do that sometimes...

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