Narcolepsy and Cataplexy in Dogs

Let's talk about narcolepsy and cataplexy in dogs. You may have heard of people that just fall asleep and can't help it. This is known as narcolepsy. It is just one type of disorder that humans and dogs have in common. This article will discuss narcolepsy in dogs and its symptoms.

Narcolepsy is a nervous system disorder, people and animals that have this disorder actually suffer from attacks of sleep and brief losses of consciousness. You may think that this is a rare disorder and that your dog probably doesn't have it, however it is rather common in dogs. As mentioned dogs with this disorder may have sleep attacks, short losses of consciousness, excessive drowsiness during the day, and a lack of energy.

A similar nervous system disorder that is also relatively common in dogs is cataplexy. This disorder is when a dog suffers from sudden and brief muscle paralysis. With this disorder the dogs are conscious and alert, they just cannot move. Narcolepsy and cataplexy are different however they are both nervous system disorders with brief and spontaneous episodes. Also, neither disorder can be reversed or completely cured.

It would be difficult to not notice if your dog has narcolepsy especially if they have spontaneous losses of consciousness. The dog may be standing and then just collapse onto the ground and appear to be asleep. There is usually no warning that an episode is about to occur.

The good thing about this narcolepsy is that the disorder itself is not fatal. If your dog has this disorder you may want to pay closer attention to them than another dog. Most episodes happen during times of greater emotion. For example if a dog is excited, playing, mating, or eating they are more likely to have a narcoleptic episode. These episodes end by themselves after anywhere between a few seconds to 30 minutes.

If you think your dog has narcolepsy, take it to a veterinarian just to be sure that it has no other medical disorders.

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your veterinarian or other health care professional. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment.