Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Future of Dogs with Border Collie Collapse Syndrome (BCC)

Preventing Border Collie Collapse (BCC)

The past several summers I've frequently reflected Chico's fate during the wicked summer heat and his suspected diagnoses of Border Collie Collapse (BCC). As outlined in my previous two posts on BCC, we've elected to retire Chico from strenuous work and play in attempt to avoid a collapse episode. We were successful these past two years. Living with a dog that most likely has BCC, we are constantly weary and we've gotten good at anticipating when the heat and excitement is too much and it's time to cool Chico down before he has the chance to collapse. Unfortunately, it's not a foolproof process and we totally missed the mark this summer. Chico collapsed in a suspected BCC episode after a session of intense play in our yard with our other border collie. Prior to the collapse the dogs had been romping in and out of a children's pool, running, herding each other and toys.  After bringing Chico in he had a collapse episode not unlike his other episodes in the past. His symptoms included excessive salivation, disorientation, dull mentation, swaying, and staggering. Chico recovered after about 5 minutes, got up and laid on the floor then collapsed again for another five minutes. Shortly thereafter he got up and ran soaking wet through the house like nothing happened. The incident scared me and brought back all the sad emotions I've felt for my own dog and all the other dogs suspected to be affected by this syndrome. After a few days my emotions settled, I knew I needed to follow up with the University of Minnesota to find out if they had any updates on their research, also I needed to update readers that have read my posts or contacted me desperate for answers. With all the research that has been taking place, is there a way to prevent collapse? 


As of late July, The University of Minnesota has had two manuscripts describing BCC accepted for publication, these transcripts are not yet out.  The U of M is currently awaiting word from one or more organizations regarding additional funding for their genetic study. Although my contacts at U of M haven't indicated this, additional funding is critical in hopes to help dogs and breeders eliminate this syndrome over time. If further funding is available, I'd imagine the U of M can research the genetic aspects of BCC and ultimately develop a genetic test for breeders and dog owners alike. 

A Cure?

Dr. Sue Taylor, indicates on the Western College of Veterinary Medicine that there  "is some concern that the mentation changes during episodes could represent a partial seizure, treatment (under veterinary supervision) with anticonvulsant drugs may be warranted to see if this decreases the tendency to have episodes. But right now, we have very little evidence that this will be effective. We are happy to answer your questions and view videos of your dog if you think you might be dealing with border collie collapse." Dr. Sue Taylor, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM.

The University of Minnesota has also encouraged dog owners to contact them if their dog has a suspected episode of collapse captured on video, they would be happy to provide additional information regarding the likelihood of BCC. 

Please contact Dr. Sue Taylor, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM: sue.taylor@usask.ca or Katie Minor, RN minork@umn.edu with any questions you may have about BCC. 

This article was written by a blogger, dog owner, border collie enthusiasts with no affiliation with researchers. 

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