A pet owner has revealed what it’s like to have a Doberman with narcolepsy, as she films her dog literally falling asleep on the floor during walks.
Ruach Ford is a few months old and was one of nine puppies rescued from a “drug house” and adopted into a loving family.
Her owner shared her journey online, under the TikTok account @ruachthenarcodobbie, but she quickly began to realize that something was wrong with their pup.
Sharing the definition of canine narcolepsy and related cataplexy, the PetMd website said: “Narcolepsy and cataplexy are disorders of the nervous system. Narcolepsy occurs when an animal suffers from excessive daytime sleepiness, lack of energy or brief blackouts.
“Episodes are brief and resolve on their own. Cataplexy is characterized by sudden muscle paralysis without loss of consciousness. The animal remains alert and can follow eye movement throughout the episode.
“Cataplexy is similar to narcolepsy in that the episodes are spontaneous, brief and reversible. These disorders are relatively common in dogs.”
It looks like Ruach’s halfway naps have earned him international attention, after a shared video garnered more than 1.5 million views.
The clip was released on Wednesday, as the onscreen captions read, “Trying to walk a dog with narcolepsy.”
In the background, Ford says, “We’ve just started our ride, and we’re already too excited. Come on, wake up. And you’re awake.”
After a few hops, Ruach sits back down, while he still has a few episodes.
Another video also showed how difficult it can be to leave, which was captioned: “Walking a dog with narcolepsy can be tricky.”
Although in the comments, Ford wrote, “Our other two dogs take care of him when he’s down.”
In one of Ruach’s first clips, shared last month, Ford said in on-screen captions that she initially thought her pup was “sleepy and clumsy.”
As his symptoms persisted, they took him to a cardiologist, as they suspected something was wrong with his heart.
She managed to catch more ‘episode’ on camera, saying, “We have no idea what’s going on. It’s scary to see this happen to your pup!”
But after the cardiologist found nothing wrong, Ruach was referred to a neurologist, as another video explains: “At that point, we decided to start researching narcolepsy. “
As they seemed to finally figure out what was wrong with their pup, other clips identified his triggers.
One said: “Ruach has a narcoleptic episode. It’s triggered by excitement from food or gambling.”
Other clips show him asleep in his food, falling to the ground in the middle of the play session and becoming wobbly while eating treats.
In another video, Ford explained that Ruach also had “cataplectic” episodes.
Responding to many questions, in the comments, Ford claimed “unfortunately he won’t make it, but they say it may diminish with age.”
She confirmed that he was starting to take medication soon, as she said his episodes weren’t hurting him “but as he gets heavier I worry about it”.
Many people commented on the video, with Ryan saying, “The bright side is at least if he ever gets loose he won’t go far. Glad he’s with a loving owner and friendly puppies.”
The Whitney-Jolie commented, “He’s the one who completely swoons halfway through for me.” Sarah McBride said, “I’ve literally never heard of this in dogs! Wild.” I love dogs more than you sympathized: “Me too I need a lot of naps during cardio.” Gupcakes wrote, “I feel so bad for laughing at that third clip. The boy just walked out on the grass.”
B admitted: “I didn’t know dogs could get this… Other than him falling asleep, is everything else healthy for him?” Mylifesamess commented, “Stop it’s so sad but so cute and I’m so glad it has understanding owners.” While Not ya business added, “This is the cutest and most hilarious thing.”
Explaining more about how to live with a pet that has these conditions, and what happens during, PetMd continued, “It’s not a fatal disease, but it is a disease that needs attention. and awareness.
“Narcolepsy and cataplectic episodes can last from a few seconds to 30 minutes, often occurring when the dog is eating, playing, aroused or engaged in sexual activity.
“During a narcoleptic episode, the affected dog will collapse on its side or stomach, its muscles will relax, and all physical movement will briefly cease. It is as if the dog suddenly fell into a deep sleep. The movement of eyes closed continues, as if the dog were in REM sleep.
“During a cataplectic episode, the dog is in a paralyzed state, although its eyes remain open, and it controls its eye movements.
“The dog remains aware and aware of what is going on around him during this type of episode. Typically, the dog will come out of an episode in response to other external stimuli, such as when he hears loud sounds or when stroked.”
Newsweek contacted @ruachthenarcodobbie for comment.