If you wonder if your dog can have a stroke like we humans do then the answer is yes. Even dogs don’t have all the risk factors like drinking, smoking, but unhealthy snacks and cheap artificial dog food that clog up the arteries.
It is said that strokes in dogs appear lesser than in people, but when a stroke strikes and a dog is affected, it is equally severe in dogs as it is in humans.
There are three forms of canine strokes.
It is essential and vital that dog owners are aware of the symptoms and signs in preventing significant damage to your dog during a stroke.
A quick reaction determines how well your dog will recover from the stroke.
1. Ischemic stroke ( Transient ischemic attacks TIA )
2. Haemorrhage stroke ( cerebrovascular accidents)
3. Fibrocartilaginous embolism ( FCE)
The two most common forms of canine strokes occur when an artery in the brain becomes blocked and cuts off oxygen to the area or when blood vessels in the brain rupture and haemorrhage.
Both of these are severe conditions that need immediate treatment. These strokes are called cerebrovascular accidents (CVA) or transient ischemic attacks (TIA).
The third type of stroke seen in dogs is called a fibrocartilaginous embolism (FCE). It happens after a small piece of disc material inside the back breaks off and drifts into the spinal cord. This type of stroke occurs very quickly when a dog is playing, jumping, or running.
It is a brain abnormality caused by a disruption of the blood supply to the brain. Symptoms can be different depending on the part of the affected area and on how severe it is.
it is when a blood clot is trapped or travel through the vessels and get caught stopping the blood flow. When stopping the blood flow the cells of the brain do not receive enough oxygen and glucose anymore, and they will eventually die.
A haemorrhagic stroke is much less common in dogs and it is when a blood vessel ruptures. A ruptured blood vessel occurs typically through a Trauma or a disease. When excess blood in the skull compresses the cells, or there is too much haemoglobin Brain cells can be damaged.
( haemoglobin = component of red blood cells that can be toxic to neurons)
That is happening in a dog when a small piece of disc material inside the back breaks off for whatever reason and drifts into the spinal cord. This kind of stroke happens normally, and it can happen quickly when a dog is running, playing, and or jumping.
If you are a dog owner, you do know your dog well, and you will see the signs immediately following a stroke. Sometimes it is hard and subtle to notice if you do not know what to look for.
Unfortunately, there are no warning signs that your dog will have a stroke right now or 1 hour later. If a stroke happens to a dog, problems can become worse in a short period if the stroke is being left untreated.
What are the common signs?
#When your dog starts to walk in circles and or turning is head in the wrong way when you call him.
#Signs if your dog has difficulty with balance or standing
#Yours is tilting its head to one side
#Reluctant to eat and to drink
#If your dog starts to lose control over bladder and bowels
#Vomiting and Nausea
#Loss of eyesight, eyes flickering from one side to the other
#Heart arrhythmia and the worst case is when your dog is collapsing.
#Dogs that had a stroke are quite distressed and disorientated.
#Most of the dogs will pant heavily and interact not normally with the dog owner.
You need to understand that it is frightening to the dog and also to the dog owner as the condition can appear suddenly.
In any matter, if you are not sure don’t waste any time and bring your dog to the next emergency Hospital or to your Veterinarian.
You can also look inside your dog’s mouth and if you see that your dog has dark red gums also check the eyelids if they are dark red. If the result is positive that this is a sign that your dog has decreased oxygen in the body. I can not stretch it if you suspect for whatever reason that your dog had a stroke bring your dog immediately to your veterinarian.
As also in humans a stroke for a dog can be fatal. The good news is that the faster you recognize that your dog had a stroke the faster your dog can get treatment and your dog will have a greater chance to a full recovery even if the stroke is severe.
Senior Dogs are more prone to strokes than younger dogs, that said it does not mean younger dogs cannot get a stroke.
#If a dog has a head injury
#Is prone to heart disease
#Dogs with a chronic kidney disease
#If your dog has been poisoned
#Certain parasites ( like ticks)
The first signs of a stroke or heart attack symptoms are the difficulty your dog has breathing. It manifests into a wheezing, coughing or heavy panting.
Your dog starts to sweat more profusely. If this continues than check for more exhibiting signs for discomfort or pain.
The pain when your dog has a heart attack is a deep pain in the centre of the heart.
Your dog might also sit in an unusual position or supine position that reflects your dog is experiencing internal discomfort.
If you sense that something is not right with your dog call immediately your veterinarian. In the meantime help and comfort your dog as much as possible.
If your dog has difficulty in breathing and it is wheezing raise your dogs head to give your dog more access to air. Try to give your dog also water to avoid the chance of your dog fainting from sweating.
Unfortunately and we all understand and know it no specific treatment can repair the damage done by a stroke to your dog’s brain.
Trust in your Vet that his course of action is to identify the possible cause and treatment to prevent further strokes.
Until we fully understand the cause of IVD, there is no pill for it to prevent it.
The best thing is to keep your dog healthy and be aware of changes in behaviour.
In severe cases when your dog struggles with nausea and vomiting or holding down fluids, an intravenous drip may do the trick. In case your dog is severely disorientated it might be better to sedate him.
This is all in the hands of your vet, and you should not try to self-medicate your dog in case of a stroke. It is important for your dog to know that you are there and you do not leave him alone.
When your dog is frightened and scared you are the one who assures your dog that you are there for him and you stay with him and give him the comfort your dog gives you when you need it.
When your dog is well enough to be brought home settle him in a quiet space where you can keep an eye on your dog. It is essential to keep the movement for your dog to a minimum until the dizziness subsides.
Rehydrate your dog and make sure your dog takes small amounts of water at regular intervals. DO NOT feed him when the vomiting has not stopped. You can feed him when the vomiting has stopped.
From my experience, the symptoms improve after 72 hours. I can not say it often enough if you suspect that your dog has a stroke do not let your dog suffer and do not self-medicate or treat your dog. Bring your dog to a Veterinarian for help.
I know Vet bills are expensive but think of a vet care membership it is worth it when there are bills coming up. Plus the discount on other services and products is worthwhile.
Yes, a few other conditions do have similar symptoms to strokes and vestibular disease. To find out what your dog really has you might need to go through some tests like a blood test or MRI Scans.
It usually is only necessary if your dog shows symptoms not associated with the vestibular disease or showing no signs of improvement.
Even it sounds crazy that your dog can have a stroke it is not crazy at all. Just think about what is now offered on the shelves of a supermarket for dog food. Most of the time we have no idea what is in the food.
There are different causes when a dog can have a stroke, but one thing is for sure a good dog owner knows when something is wrong with its dog.
Do you have experience with a stroke in your dog or pet? Share with us your moments you might save a dog life and help a dog owner react fast so that the four-legged friends can live again a happy life.
Special thanks to our veterinarian for explaining to me in details the causes and medical words.
Thank you to my readers.