Narcolepsy and Cataplexy in Dogs
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. Although you may not be able to prevent episodal attacks of narcolepsy or catalepsy, you may be able to reduce the frequency and duration of them. 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. Your dog is neither suffering nor is it in pain while it is undergoing this neurological episode, and there is no need to be concerned about it choking on food and/or having its airway obstructed if an episode occurs while it is eating. But there are other safety issues to take into account. If the episodes are frequent, are happening in vulnerable situations, or are otherwise very concerning, there may be medications your veterinarian can prescribe to help control the frequency or duration of the attacks.
Living and Management
If your dog has this condition, you will want to supervise its activities when it is doing anything that might place it in a vulnerable position. Breeding, or sexual activity, can bring on a level of excitement that can cause an episode, and the situation itself places your dog in a vulnerable position. Other situations where your dog might feel emotionally overwhelmed are during activities such as hunting, swimming, and unleashed exercise, playing at the park, and meeting new people or animals. If that is the case, you will need to be aware and on guard so that your dog does not find itself in a problem situation. It is advised that you keep our dog indoors, or in a safe, enclosed environment, so that it is not at risk of attack from animals or otherwise.
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