We all know that a stroke is a fatal disease in humans, if not diagnosed and treated in time. Even dogs may develop stroke, but the condition is not fatal in canines, as compared to humans. Canine stroke symptoms too differ, as compared to signs of stroke in humans. Though a rare condition in dogs, it is always better to detect and treat canine stroke at the earliest, so as to avoid possible complications.
Canine stroke is basically classified into two types - ischemic and hemorrhagic. In case of ischemic stroke, the blood supply to certain parts of the brain gets affected due to a blocked artery. Rupture of the artery is the reason for such blocked blood supply in a hemorrhagic stroke. Such blocked blood supply will result in damage to brain tissues, thereby affecting various vital functions of the body. This results in many different stroke symptoms in dogs. So, a basic idea about the various aspects of this canine disease will be beneficial for pet dog owners.
What Causes Canine Stroke Syndrome
Otherwise known as cerebrovascular accident (CVA) or a transient ischemic attack (TIA), canine stroke is a serious medical condition that may cause brain damage and other complications. Now you know that this condition is caused by blocked blood supply to certain parts of the brain and this could be due to a blocked or ruptured artery. There are certain medical conditions that make a dog predisposed to stroke. This includes Cushing's disease, heart disease, diabetes, liver problems, thyroid disorders, brain tumor and hypertension. Even ingestion of rodent poison can lead to stroke in dogs. Other causes include head injury or trauma, lung worms, etc.
While, in most cases, brain damage caused by a stroke is irreversible, treatment for the underlying condition will help the dog to recover from the symptoms. There is another canine health problem that is often misdiagnosed as stroke. This is canine vestibular syndrome, which is caused by inflammation of the nerves that connect the inner ear with the cerebellum. But, in this case, brain damage will not happen. So, proper diagnosis is very much important. As compared to humans, dogs do not develop life-threatening stroke symptoms and the recovery is also much faster.
Symptoms of Canine Stroke
One of the most common symptoms of canine stroke syndrome is tilting of the head to one side. The dog may also lean towards that side while walking. It has also been observed that such dogs eat food from one side of the bowl. The animal's limbs may appear weak and they may falter and fall while walking. They dog may also start moving in circles and will display a change in behavior. Other canine stroke symptoms include loss of control over bladder and bowel movements, depression, confusion, seizures and vision problems. In severe cases, symptoms, like paralysis and vision loss may also happen. In short, the nature and severity of the symptoms may vary as per the severity of the condition and the nature of the affected parts of the brain.
How is Canine Stroke Syndrome Treated
Treatment for a canine stroke may also vary with the underlying condition. If the underlying cause is detected, treatment will be provided for the same, so as to prevent occurrences of stroke in future. Apart from symptomatic treatment (like anti seizure medication), the affected dog may also be administered with anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the swelling of the damaged brain tissues. Intravenous therapy and supportive care will also be provided for such dogs. As compared to humans, dogs have strong possibilities of recovery from a stroke. But, in case of severe damage to the vital parts of the brain, complete recovery may not be possible. Otherwise, good supportive care is all that is needed for the dog to get back in good shape.
To conclude, canine stroke syndrome is a condition that is rare in dogs. However, there are chances that dogs develop stroke that may sometimes result in severe and debilitating symptoms. So, it is always advisable to take your pet dog to the vet, as soon as you notice any such symptom. Early diagnosis and treatment is always beneficial for a fast recovery. This DogAppy article is only for informational purposes and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.