Narcolepsy is a disorder of the nervous system.
It occurs when a dog suffers from excessive daytime sleepiness, lack of energy, or brief losses of consciousness.
The episodes are brief and go away by themselves.
Cocoa is a 4 year old miniature dachshund who was diagnosed with narcolepsy:
Some of the usual symptoms are:
- Rapid onset of episodes, with no apparent warning of imminent collapse
- Sudden loss of consciousness
- Paralysis of limbs, head, and torso
- Episodes last from several seconds up to 30 minutes
- Eye movement, muscular twitching, and whimpering during episodes
- Episodes usually end when stimulated by petting, loud noises, etc.
Usual causes are:
- Hereditary in Labrador retrievers, poodles, dachshunds, and Doberman pinschers
- Possible immune system involvement
- Nerve disorder
- Idiopathic (unknown)
Is there a treatment?
Your veterinarian will try to determine what is behind the episodes. By finding possible patterns, such as in particular activities, foods, or times of day, you may be able to predict with some surety when your dog will have an episode. Watching for small signs of an oncoming episode, and being prepared to gently bring your dog out of it can help the incident to pass quickly. These attacks can appear to be severe, but they are not life threatening.