Stroke is a fatal medical condition that blocks blood supply to parts of the brain, as a result of blood vessel rupture or blockage. Deprivation of oxygen and nutrients result in the death of brain cells of the concerned area, resulting in permanent or temporary disabilities or even death. In fact, stroke is the second leading cause of death in humans. As compared to humans, stroke is rare in dogs. However, there are certain conditions that make these animals predisposed to stroke. These include old age and certain medical conditions. Canine stroke is classified into two types - ischemic and hemorrhagic. While, ischemic stroke is caused by lack of blood supply due to blocked artery, hemorrhagic stroke is caused by lack of blood supply due to ruptured artery.
What Causes Stroke in Dogs
As mentioned above, stroke is rare in dogs, but, this does not mean that these animals are fully free of this medical condition. There are various conditions that make a dog susceptible to stroke. This include diseases of the kidney, heart and liver, Cushing's disease, high blood pressure, thyroid disorders, brain tumor and diabetes. Even arterial inflammation, head trauma, ingestion of rodent poison, etc. can cause canine stroke. Other rare canine stroke causes include internal parasites and inherited blood clotting disorders. Dogs with abnormal brain development may also develop stroke. It has been observed that a speck of fat or dislodged spinal cartilage trapped inside the brain may also cause stroke in dogs. It may also happen that some dogs develop stroke with no apparent reason and such condition is called idiopathic stroke.
Canine Stroke Symptoms
Stroke symptoms in dogs may not be similar to that of humans. However, the most common symptom is a tilt in the head. Besides that, the dog may also develop the following symptoms.
- Loss of balance and weakness
- Moving in circles and falling over
- Sudden change in behavior
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- Confusion and Depression
- Loss of vision and seizure
- Eating from one side of the bowl
The nature and severity of stroke symptoms in dogs may vary from one dog to other. Symptoms are found to develop as per the location of the stroke and its severity. Once you notice such symptoms in your dog, you have to take the animal to the vet, at the earliest. Even though the chances of recovery is much higher in dogs, as compared to humans, early diagnosis and treatment will be always beneficial.
Treatment for Canine Stroke
Diagnosis of canine stroke is done with the help of CT scan, MRI, blood tests and checking variations in blood pressure. Treatment options for stroke in dogs are very limited. If the underlying cause is detected, the doctor will start treating the same. Usually, anti-inflammatory drugs are administered to the affected dog, so as to reduce inflammation of the brain tissues. Even anti-seizure medication may be administered in some cases. Apart from these medication, the affected dog may need intravenous fluid therapy too.
However, recovery time is based on the extent and severity of the stroke, the damages occurred and how early treatment is provided. In general, most of the canines are found to survive stroke very fast and they regain their motor functions too. There are chances of recurrence of the disease, especially in cases where the underlying cause remains undetermined. In such cases, you have to take much care in providing the dog with special diet and a healthy lifestyle. You may also resort to natural remedies for preventing such recurrence. In some cases, some of the damage caused by the stroke can never be reversed. So, your love and support is very much necessary for the dog to get adjusted with the new life.
The above said is a brief overview about canine stroke. It is always better to prevent the condition by providing your dog with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Regular health checkups is a must as this helps in detecting and treating health problems. Otherwise, such health problems may lead to complications, like, stroke. If you notice any signs of stroke in your pet dog, take him/her to the vet at the earliest, so as to provide canine stroke treatment at the earliest.
This DogAppy article is for informational purposes only and it should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. So, if you have any doubts with regard to canine stroke, contact the vet.