Can dogs have strokes?

April 13, 2012

When the brain gets an insufficient supply of blood or when for some reasons a blood vessel in the brain ruptures, the most common outcome is stroke. Stroke can impair the life of a person for a very long time. People that have had a stroke would have speech problems, breathing difficulties and may even have impaired movements due to the inability to use the arms and legs. Although not very common in canines, dogs can suffer from a stroke too. Because symptoms of canine strokes are different from human strokes, a dog owner would be shocked to learn that the dog’s condition is the result of a stroke.

The effects of stroke on dogs would not be as serious as the effect in humans. Moreover, dogs can recover much faster than humans. Nevertheless, similar to humans that had a stroke; this medical issue can devastate the life of the dog more so because stroke practically has no specific treatment. The vet would prescribe medications for the disease that have caused the stroke but the necessary care to make the recovery faster will have to be provided by the pet owner. The love, the tender loving care of the owner will entice the dog to get better. After the dog has had a stroke it may be reluctant to move – even to go to its bathroom. The owner has to coach the pet to do its usual activities as dogs that had a stroke would have no inclination to exercise and even to eat and drink.

An owner can only help the pet to recover faster if the condition of the pet was noticed. It is extremely important to know the symptoms of stroke so that the necessary care will be given to the pet. A dog can have a stroke when a blocked artery results to insufficient supply of blood and oxygen to the brain. This type is stroke that is called ischemic. Heart and kidney diseases, hypertension and diabetes are the common causes of ischemic stroke. The blockage in the artery can also be caused by a tumor. A tumor in the brain can cause severe inflammation that will stop the flow of blood. Hemorrhagic stroke is characterized by the bleeding in the brain. Cerebral bleeding occurs when a blood vessel ruptures. The bleeding will cause the brain tissues to swell. When the swelling of the tissues will puts pressure in the brain stroke will occur. A head trauma, head tumor, high blood pressure, ingestion of rat poison can trigger hemorrhagic stroke. This type of stroke can also be cause by a kind of lung parasite.

Dogs cannot tell the owners what ails them. It would be up to the pet parent to notice anything unusual with the pet. A dog that had a stroke will have an abrupt change in behavior. Dogs are very lively and energetic animals. These characteristics are what endear these animals to humans. Stroke will make the dog lethargic and depressed. The dog would also appear confused. In humans, stroke can result to the paralysis of one side of the body. A dog that had a stroke will suddenly develop a head tilt that would be most noticeable when the dog is eating because only the food on one side of the dish will be consumed. Blindness, loss of balance and loss of bladder and bowel control are other symptoms. The dog may find it difficult to stand on all fours and if ever it does walk, it would do so in a lopsided manner.

A vet consultation will be necessary. To confirm the condition of the dog, the vet will conduct a physical examination. To evaluate the condition of the pet the vet would require CT scan and MRI.

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