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Episodic Falling Syndrome in Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

Written by aslmad.yaz


Episodic falling syndrome in dogs is a medical condition that specifically affects Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. In short, the disorder causes episodes that look like seizures.

Unfortunately, the condition is inherited. Technically, the disorder is caused be a recessive gene that becomes mutated. Thankfully, treatment can help to manage the disorder.

If you see signs that your dog might be suffering from this condition, then you must consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and course of treatment. Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of episodic falling syndrome in dogs.

Symptoms of episodic falling syndrome in dogs

The condition mostly produces episodes that resemble seizures. Generally, some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Stiffness
  • Rigid back legs
  • Overheating
  • Lack of coordination
  • Yelping
  • Stumbling over
  • Collapsing

Generally, symptoms of the disorder can be brought on by a number of activities and factors. For example, stress, exercise, and feelings of anxiety can cause symptoms.

Causes of episodic falling syndrome in dogs

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel being examined for signs of episodic falling syndrome.
(Photo credit: Su Arslanoglu /Getty Images)

The cause of the condition is genetic. This means a dog is born with it. Technically, episodic falling syndrome is caused by a recessive gene called BCAN mutating. This gene helps a dog’s neurological abilities.

Unfortunately, carriers of the mutated gene are very common. But thankfully only a small percentage of canines are actually affected by the condition.

Treatments for the condition in dogs

If you think that your dog might be developing episodic falling syndrome, your veterinarian will want to carry out a full physical examination of your dog. Additionally, your vet will ask about your dog’s full medical history. This will include any breed-specific problems.

Generally, it can be helpful to show your vet a video of your dog undergoing an episode. This can help to rule out other conditions that produce similar symptoms. Usually, a blood test can confirm the condition. Additionally, the results of the test can also tell if a dog is a carrier of the mutated gene.

Generally, treatment involves medication. For example, Clonazepam, Diazepam, and Acetazolamide are often prescribed. These medications help a dog’s muscles relax and can prevent future episodes.

Unfortunately, in some cases a dog might start to become tolerant to medication. So it’s generally good practice to identify triggers for your pup’s episodes and take steps to avoid such situations.


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