Brain and Spinal Cord

A neurologic condition characterized by daytime sleepiness and fragmented sleep cycles, affected dogs also exhibit episodes of cataplexy, a sudden complete loss of muscle tone in response to strong positive emotions. All known genetic mutations for canine narcolepsy lie in the Hypocretin receptor 2 (HCRTR2) gene. Hypocretin is a neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of appetite, arousal, and wakefulness.

  • Signs and symptoms

    Other than their irregular sleep cycles and tendency to collapse when excited, narcoleptic dogs are perfectly normal dogs.

    Signs are first apparent between 1-6 months of age.

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  • Diagnosis

    Genetic testing and clinical signs are used to diagnose this disease.

  • Treatment

    Affected dogs enjoy a normal lifespan and quality of life with no treatment.

  • What to do if your dog is at risk


    • Most owners with narcoleptic dogs try to keep their dogs from becoming regularly overstimulated.

  • Genetic Information

    This mutation was first described in Labrador Retrievers.

    This disease is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner, meaning that affected dogs must have two copies of the mutation to show clinical signs.

    Gene names:

    HCRTR2 ‐ chr

    Inheritance type:



    Lin et al 1999

  • Breeds affected

    This health condition affects the following breeds

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