I’m hoping to breed off a young bitch I have and although she doesn’t suffer from the condition I’ve heard that dogs can carry the genes of the disease, and if mated their pups will suffer from it too.

Can you get me any further information?

JEREMY HUNT SAYS: The condition is called Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC).

Now that a DNA test has been developed by the University of Minnesota I feel we are going to see more breeders taking advantage of it.

There’s a growing debate that we are now testing labradors for too much.

This could end up reducing the gene pool for good traits simply because we are eliminating gun dogs because of the results of health testing.

Whatever your thoughts on that there’s no doubt that EIC is an issue in some bloodlines.

People who have had gun dogs which suffered from EIC have said that “half a bar of chocolate did the trick” and appeared to help the dog’s recovery.

At the time they had no idea why the gun dogs showed these symptoms or what caused them.

In essence it wasn’t the chocolate bar that worked, it was simply that in most cases gun dogs do recover after a few minutes.

Ignorance is bliss some may say.

Gun dogs can suffer from EIC in varying degrees and although it can be fatal, those affected during exercise do appear to fully recover.

A lot more information is going to emerge about the degree of incidence of this issue as it becomes more widely discussed.

My advice is to have your bitch tested for EIC.

This may involve sending a mouth swab to a laboratory at the University of Minnesota. From here at least you’ll know the status of your bitch.

I would assume that if she has not displayed any symptoms that she is either clear of EIC, or at worst is a carrier.

If she’s a carrier you would than have to choose a sire carefully as a carrier mated to a carrier would result in a proportion of the litter being affected.

While many breeders have not welcomed the emergence of another health test for labs, it appears this may be a problem that occurs more widely in working labradors than we have realised.

One leading dual-purpose kennel that both shows and works its dogs, took the commendable step of being the first in the UK to test for EIC.

None of the gun dogs had shown signs of the problem but of the seven gun dogs tested five were found to be carriers, including two of the kennel’s stud dogs.

I suggest you have your bitch tested to give you peace of mind.

For further details on sending mouth swabs to the University of Minnesota visit: www.vdl.umn.edu

For more gun dog health advice click here