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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Narcolepsy and Cataplexy

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Condition Overview

Narcolepsy and cataplexy are uncommon disorders of the sleep mechanism in which a dog is excessively sleepy all day (narcolepsy) or experiences sudden muscle paralysis and collapse (cataplecy). Between attacks the dog is completely normal.

Symptoms

A dog may have one or many episodes of collapse in a day, each lasting a few seconds or up to 30 minutes. The attacks can usually be reversed by petting the dog or making a loud noise.

Causes

Information needed.

Diagnosis

Narcolepsy can occur without cataplexy, and vice versa, although narcolepsy alone is difficult to recognize in dogs.

Treatment

There are several effective drugs available to prevent narcolepsy and cataplexy. Dogs afflicted with the inherited form (mainly Doberman Pinschers, Dachshunds, and Labrador Retrievers) often improve as they grow older.

Prevention

This is an autosomal recessive problem in these 3 breeds. OptiGen has a DNA test to identify carriers before dogs are bred.

Support

Please contact your veterinarian if you think your pet may have this condition.

Show Sources & Contributors +

Sources

Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

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