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 ground 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.
His owner has been sharing his journey online, under TikTok account @ruachthenarcodobbie, but she soon began to realize that something wasn’t quite right with their pup.
Sharing the definition of canine narcolepsy, and associated condition cataplexy, website PetMd 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 losses of consciousness.
“The episodes are brief and go away by themselves. Cataplexy is characterized by sudden muscle paralysis without loss of consciousness. The animal remains alert and can follow movement with its eyes 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 seems Ruach’s mid-walk naps are what have gained him international attention, after a video shared amassed more than 1.5 million views.
The clip was posted on Wednesday, as the on-screen captions said: “Trying to walk a dog with narcolepsy.”
In the background Ford says: “We just started our walk, and already we’re too excited. C’mon, wake up. And you’re awake.”
After a few bounds Ruach sits down again, while he has a couple more episodes.
Another video also demonstrated how tough it can be heading out, 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 though.”
In one of the first clips of Ruach, shared last month, Ford said in on-screen captions she initially thought her puppy was “sleepy and clumsy.”
As his symptoms continued, they took him to a cardiologist, as they suspected something could be wrong with his heart.
She managed to catch more “episodes” 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 couldn’t find anything wrong, Ruach was referred to a neurologist, as another video explained: “At that point we decided to start doing research on narcolepsy.”
As they seemed to finally discover what was wrong with their puppy, further clips identified his triggers.
One said: “Ruach having a narcoleptic episode. He is triggered by excitement from food or play.”
Other clips show him asleep in his food, dropping to the ground mid-play session, and becoming wobbly as he ate treats.
While in another video, Ford explained Ruach also had “cataplectic” episodes.
Responding to numerous questions, in the comments Ford claimed “he unfortunately won’t grow out of it but they say it may decrease as he ages.”
She confirmed he’s starting medication soon, as she claimed his episodes don’t hurt him “but as he gets heavier I worry about it.”
Numerous people commented on the video, with Ryan saying: “Bright side is at least if he ever gets loose he won’t make it far. Glad he’s with a loving owner and friendly pups.”
The Whitney-Jolie commented: “It’s him fully passing out mid run for me.” Sarah McBride said: “I have literally never even heard of this in dogs! Wild.” I like dogs more than you sympathized: “I too need many naps during cardio.” Gupcakes wrote: “I feel so bad for chuckling at that third clip. Boy just clocked out on the grass.”
B admitted: “I never knew that dogs could get this… Other than him just dropping into asleep is everything else healthy with him?” Mylifesamess commented: “Stop it’s so sad but so cute and I’m so happy he has understanding owners.” While Not ya business added: “This is the most adorable thing and hilarious.”
Explaining more about how to live with a pet who has these conditions, and what happens during, PetMd continued: “This is not a fatal disease, but it is one that requires attention and awareness.
“Narcoleptic and cataplectic episodes can last from several seconds up to 30 minutes, often occurring when the dog is eating, playing, excited, or is engaged in sexual activity.
“During a narcoleptic episode, the affected dog will collapse onto its side or stomach, its muscles slacken, and all physical movement briefly ceases. It is just as if the dog has suddenly fallen into a deep sleep. Closed eye movement continues, as if the dog were in the stage of REM sleep.
“During a cataplectic episode, the dog is in a paralyzed state, although its eyes remain open, and it has control over its eye movement.
“The dog remains aware and conscious of what is going on around it during this type of episode. Typically, the dog will come out of an episode in response to other external stimuli, such as when it hears loud sounds, or when it is petted.”
Newsweek reached out to @ruachthenarcodobbie for comment.