The condition of stroke was considered as one of the rare medical occurrences in canines. However, with the advent and improvement of specialist tests, it has been found that this condition is fairly common in most types of dogs. So what is a stroke exactly. This disorder is defined as a condition wherein, part of the brain is devoid of adequate blood supply thus, causing a dearth in oxygen in the brain tissues and cells, eventually causing them to die.
A stroke can occur in two forms; ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke. The former type is known to be the most common types of strokes. It occurs when the brain arteries are narrowed and blocked (usually caused by a blood clot) thus keeping the brain from receiving enough blood to survive. And a less common occurrence is the other type, wherein, a blood vessel in the brain is caused to leak or rupture. Speaking of canine stroke prognosis, it basically refers to a prediction about how the condition would develop and what could be the most possible repercussion. And this prediction is done based on the experiences of hundreds of other dogs with the same condition.
What Influences the Prognosis of Canine Stroke?
Factors such as symptoms may give a clue about the current course of the condition, and the cause, about the severity. Also the complications of the problem may help to determine about how well the treatment can go, and the treatment itself can help in predicting the survival rate of the affected dog.
So how do you know if your pet has contracted this condition. When compared to human beings, canine stroke symptoms are different. Some of the most common symptoms which may indicate that the pet has had a stoke include:
- The animal may be seen tilting its head to a side, or walking in a leaning posture. According to experts, the side of the brain that has damaged is the side to which the dog may lean towards or tilt its head.
- The animal may become weak and appear so, as well
- Losing balance is one important symptom that must be watched out for
- The affected dog might turn to the wrong way when called
- Losing control of bladder and bowel is another classic symptom of a dog that has suffered a stroke. So you may find your pet voiding in unexpected or unwanted places
- Loss of appetite, lethargy, and behaving abnormally are the other symptoms
There could be many factors which can lead to the development of stroke in canines. The ones that vet commonly come across may include:
- Disease of the kidneys
- Disease of the heart
- Parasitic infection
- Hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism
- Injuries and trauma
Depending upon the cause, the complications may vary. First, the symptoms which have been mentioned above may become permanent or stay for a temporary period, depending on how severe was the stroke. In addition to these, some dogs might become blind or develop paralysis. Also, the part of the brain that has been affected, and the underlying cause determine the severity of the condition.
The treatment aims at correcting what has caused the stroke in your canine. Determining the specific cause or causes, not only help in the present situation, but also in preventing future strokes. For instance, if the cause is a parasitic infection, then worming the animal would be good enough for dealing with the condition. And if the cause is a chronic one, let's say, diabetes, then long-term treatment to control it may be put in place.
After studying the symptoms and knowing about what has caused the condition, a vet is able to predict the outcome of the condition. For instance, if the cause is a chronic one, then it is most unlikely that the animal would have a duly recovery. Dogs who receive prompt treatment, needless to say, have a brighter prognosis. Also, the same depends on how long has the animal survived after having diagnosed with the condition. Animals who have a longer survival, are known to have a better prognosis. In most cases, dogs are known to recover on their own within a few weeks. However, if the stroke has damaged a vital part of the brain, then the recovery and the prognosis may look bleak, depending on whether the condition can be treated properly.
What has to be understood is, prognosis is a mere prediction and must not be deemed to stand true always. It may happen that a dog whose prognosis is not a bright one, may have a full recovery, while one who was thought to be otherwise, did not show any positive results.