Whippet Exercise Induced Hyperthermia
Researchers at the University of Helsinki and the University of Minnesota are collaborating to attempt to determine the genetic basis of the condition commonly known 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.
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 40 samples (including EIH cases and healthy old controls), all active racing dogs (or veterans), from Finland have already been genotyped, but no EIH risk genes have been identified yet. To increase the sample size necessary for a successful result more affected and control samples are desperately needed and this is now beginning to be accomplished with a cohort of 36 dogs collected in the US. 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 EIH.
You can help with this important 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 dogs with EIH and normal healthy dogs. Samples from older healthy racing or lure coursing dogs are particularly important.