Saturday, June 19, 2010

Narcolepsy Effects Dogs Too

Narcolepsy affects thousands of people but you'd probably be surprised to know that it also effects dogs too. The first reports of narcolepsy in dogs were published in 1973.

Narcolepsy is an uncommon and misunderstood medical condition that causes spells of sleepiness and sometimes partial or complete boughts of paralysis. It may often times cause the dog to collapse right in the middle of running, walking or during any physical activity.  The dog will suddenly fall into a deep sleep and  just as suddenly will awaken with complete recovery. It's important to note that this is not sleepiness or even napping and it is not life-threatening or even painful. Studies have shown that most of the animals affected often show signs of twitching and rapid eye movement right before a collapse.

I've attached a YouTube video for you to view so you could get a clearer idea of what and how narcolepsy can affect a dog.

Unfortunately, the treatments available are very limited and always include medication such as tricyclic antidepressants, which act by blocking cellular uptake of the neurotransmitter, norepinephrine. Other stimulant medications are also used to treat the excessive sleepiness. 

Since these sudden attacks are usually set off by stimulation and excitement, the benefits of holistic alternatives should be brought into this mix. Holistic alternatives can treat the dog to maintain an even level of calm so that excessive stimulation and excitement levels are not attained. 

Alternative treatments such as music therapy, meditation, Reiki, canine massage and the use of Bach Flower remedies can all be used to treat overstimulation.  These alternative methods work to promote calmness and reduce levels of stress and anxiety.

To find out more about these holistic alternatives, please check out my website at or this blog.

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