Episodic falling is a relatively rare neurological condition, induced by exercise, excitement or frustration, in which muscle tone increases. This means the dog is unable to relax its muscles, becomes rigid and falls over, recovering a few minutes later with no apparent after effects.
Affected dogs usually start to demonstrate clinical signs before one year of age, with most cases having their first episode aged four to seven months.
By identifying the genetic mutations responsible for causing this condition, the Animal Health Trust UK has been able to develop a DNA test to identify carriers. Two “clear” dogs mated together, or a “clear” and a “carrier” mated together cannot produce an affected dog. So theoretically a breeder would be able to eliminate this syndrome from their bloodlines within one or two generations.
DNA tests for these conditions are available for Cavalier breeders in Australia from the Animal Health Trust UK DNA testing page.
Testing kits can be ordered and sent to Australia, the dog’s swabs kits are then posted back to the UK and the results sent to the dog’s owner. Time taken is usually between 2-3 weeks.