Narcolepsy is an autosomal-recessive genetic disease of dogs.
Narcolepsy is a debilitating sleep disorder with excessive daytime sleepiness and cataplexy as its two major symptoms. The genetic disorder is thought to result in hypocretin (orexin) neurotransmission deficiency, resulting in uncontrollable sleep patterns. An autoimmune etiology has been suggested for narcolepsy but never proven.
Affected dogs appear to fall asleep, suddenly losing control of their hind legs or collapsing in complete paralysis, while still being entirely aware of their surroundings. Attacks last from a few seconds to a few minutes and end with no residual effects.
Some sporadic cases of narcolepsy are not inherited.
Clinically affected dogs have been treated with SSRI antidepressant drugs such as venlafaxine, but with limited success.
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