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Treatment and Prognosis of Narcolepsy in Dogs

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015

Treatment Options

Treatment is generally only considered if a dog has repeated attacks that interfere with its safety or lifestyle. Narcoleptic episodes themselves do not harm a dog’s health. However, they can occur at inopportune times. Narcoleptic dogs that cannot be regularly supervised may be placed on management therapies.

The current medical protocol for dogs with narcolepsy is oral administration of tricyclic antidepressants. These drugs block cellular uptake of certain neurotransmitters, including norepinephrine, and are quite effective at managing the periodic paralysis that typically occurs in dogs with narcolepsy. Oral stimulants are available to relieve daytime sleepiness. Of course, new medications are constantly under development.


Narcolepsy and the associated cataplectic attacks normally are not life-threatening. While there is no cure for this condition, its symptoms can be minimized with medical management. In some cases, the symptoms resolve spontaneously and do not recur.

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Dog Health Center

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