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Health Matters » Episodic Falling Syndrome

What Is Episodic Falling or Falling Cavaliers?
Episodic Falling (EF) is a syndrome of muscle stiffness and collapse. Episodes are induced by exercise or excitement and can manifest themselves as simply rigidity in the hindquarters, falling, or in seizure-like events lasting from minutes to hours. During events the dogs are conscious and aware. Although symptoms almost always arise by five months of age, there is no pattern of progression and episodes can be less or more severe over time. EF is often misdiagnosed as epilepsy as it is relatively unknown, but drugs are available to treat Episodic Falling that are not used in epilepsy, so the correct diagnosis is critical. Direct observation, a video or description of symptoms reviewed by a veterinarian are the only way to diagnose Episodic Falling. There are no other tests. For purposes of the research, a description of symptoms is adequate. Test breeding results along with pedigree analysis indicate that EF is a recessive genetic disorder.

Genetic research is underway by Dr. Jacques Penderis at the University of Glasgow and he is in need of blood samples from affected dogs together with samples from their unaffected littermates, sire and/or dam.

For more information about Episodic Falling, or if you know of a dog who may have Episodic Falling and want to participate in the research, please see the Episodic Falling web site, www.episodicfalling.com

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