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Suspected acquired narcolepsy in 8 dogs

Santifort, Koen M.; Ives, Edward J.; Fenn, Joe; Raimondi, Francesca; Lourinho, Filipa; Mandigers, Paul J. J.; Bergknut, Niklas


Koen M. Santifort

Edward J. Ives

Joe Fenn

Francesca Raimondi

Filipa Lourinho

Paul J. J. Mandigers

Niklas Bergknut


Joseph Fenn


Background: Acquired narcolepsy has rarely been reported in veterinary medicine. Objective: To describe the presentation, clinicopathological features, diagnostic imaging findings, and management of dogs with suspected-acquired narcolepsy. Animals: Eight dogs with clinical features consistent with acquired narcolepsy. Methods: A call for suspected cases of acquired narcolepsy was made online, followed by a retrospective review of detailed medical records of potential cases. Dogs were included if episodes consistent with cataplexy were present during exami- nation by a board-certified veterinary neurologist and diagnostic work-up included magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and analysis of cerebrospinal fluid.
Results: Seven French Bulldogs and 1 Chihuahua (age range, 9-66 months) were included. Meningoencephalitis of unknown origin was diagnosed in 2 dogs, extracra- nial foci of inflammation were identified in 2 dogs (aspiration pneumonia, esophagitis, otitis media), and no abnormalities were found on diagnostic investigations in 4 dogs. Prednisolone was used in the management of all dogs, 6 dogs received imipramine, and 2 received cytosine arabinoside. An initial remission of signs was observed in all dogs, but a subsequent relapse of clinical signs was recorded for 4 dogs, of which 3 responded to adjustment or resumption of treatment.
Conclusions and Clinical Importance: The presence of cataplexy episodes should prompt a thorough diagnostic work-up to exclude the presence of intracranial (and extracranial) pathology. The potential for both remission and relapse of signs in suspected acquired cases is important for clinicians and owners to be aware of.


Santifort, K. M., Ives, E. J., Fenn, J., Raimondi, F., Lourinho, F., Mandigers, P. J. J., & Bergknut, N. (2021). Suspected acquired narcolepsy in 8 dogs. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 35(3), 1448-1454.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 6, 2021
Online Publication Date May 7, 2021
Publication Date 2021-05
Deposit Date Nov 1, 2021
Publicly Available Date Nov 1, 2021
Journal Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Print ISSN 0891-6640
Electronic ISSN 1939-1676
Publisher Wiley Open Access
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 3
Pages 1448-1454
Keywords General Veterinary
Public URL
Additional Information Received: 2020-08-28; Accepted: 2021-03-22; Published: 2021-05-07


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