Whippet exercise induced hyperthermia

Racing whippets

Researchers at the University of Helsinki and the University of Minnesota are collaborating in an effort to determine the genetic basis of an exercise-induced ataxia condition observed in whippets.  This condition has previously been commonly referred to as exercise-induced hyperthermia (EIH). Whippets suffering from this condition appear normal at rest and seem healthy. Typical collapse episodes begin 5 – 15 min after onset of exercise; signs may include disorientation, dull mentation or loss of focus; swaying, staggering and falling to the side; exaggerated lifting of each limb while walking and a choppy gait; scuffing of the rear and/or forelegs, crossing of the legs when turning, and resting with a wide-based stance to maintain balance. Although body temperatures are elevated during a collapse episode it is not known if this is associated with the primary mechanism responsible for the collapse.  This condition appears very similar to Border Collie Collapse (BCC), another collapse syndrome we are researching at the University of Minnesota.  This is a seperate condition from dynamin 1 - associated exercise induced collapse (EIC) that is common in the Labrador retriever.

Study goals

In this study DNA samples from both affected and normal Whippets are being examined with genetic markers to attempt to identify the region of the genome that contains the causative gene. Thus far approximately 80 samples (including cases and healthy older controls), all active racing dogs (or veterans), from Finland and the US have already been genotyped, but no risk genes have been identified yet. To increase the sample size necessary for a successful result more affected and control samples are needed. The ultimate goal will be to find a causative gene and mutation, and test this mutation in a large population of Whippets, to enable development of a genetic test to assist breeders in reducing the incidence of this ataxia condition.

Participation requirements and forms

You can help with this research by completing our online questionnaire for affected dogs, and by submitting a blood sample and supplying medical information about your dog to either of the collaborating research groups. Samples are needed both from affected dogs and normal healthy dogs. Samples from older healthy racing or lure coursing dogs are particularly important.

Submission forms

Video file
Whippet showing ataxia and collapse with exercise

Contact us

Canine Genetics Lab
University of Minnesota
1988 Fitch Ave
AS/VM 295
St. Paul, MN 55108

[email protected]