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BCC Study - Is there any update


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New to the site, and in the UK.


My fourth Border (Arlo), is showing all the symptoms, particularly when chasing a ball. 5 minutes or so and he shows significant symptoms, which get progressively worse post exercise. 15 mins post exercise is when it peaks after 30 mins, he's ok.


Wondered if there was any update or advice available?


Thanks in anticipation



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The clinical part of the study is complete (the researchers have a means to diagnose dogs with BCC). I believe the researchers are working on a publication now.


They are nearing the end of the lab work on the initial genetic testing looking, to see if there is a genetic link to BCC.


Mark Billadeau

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My Border Collie has exhibited these symptoms 4 times in her life. Three were when she was 2 years old, the most recent a couple of weeks ago. (She is five now) Every instance was preceded by a ball or Frisbee session. Her symptoms are not usually severe. She will stagger a bit and seem somewhat disoriented. Only once (the first time) did she actually fall over.


I try to limit frisbee sessions to half a dozen throws. I forgot to count the last time she got the staggers, but I estimate I probably threw it 8 or nine times. Everyone knows that Border Collies are intense, but her level of excitement during ball, and especially Frisbee, is off the scale of her usual excitement about fun things. She goes from "zero to sixty in 2.2 seconds."


I try to calm her between throws. If she is standing, bug-eyed with anticipation, one forefoot up against her chest like a Pointer, I speak to her softly until the foot comes down and she stands normally. I've noticed that her whole body is very tense - contracted for take-off - even if she is not in a crouch. She will be breathing through her mouth, but her tongue does not protrude much. But if I end the session at that point, out comes the tongue and she will pant like you would expect her to after exerting herself. She will also grab at or pick up random objects - sticks, rocks, anything - and seems a bit distracted.


I have this idea that she is so tense - contracted - that she is almost holding her breath, and has her diaphragm tight in the end-of-exhale position. Could it be that they make themselves dizzy by breathing very shallowly, almost holding their breath for extended periods?


Like many Border Collies owners, I have to be vigilant that she does not become OCD about behaviors like spinning. I wonder if BCC is not just the result of a combination of OCD and physical body tension. Of course that doesn't mean there couldn't be a genetic component that predisposes them to BCC.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My 5 year old BC has BCC as far as the researchers are confirmed. There is a Facebook group that a few people have set up with dogs who are affected. Mostly just as a way of exchanging information. Katie Minor who is involved with the research is also a member of the group.

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