Strokes in Dogs
Strokes happen when a blood vessel ruptures or becomes blocked, depriving the brain of its normal blood supply. The brain needs oxygen and glucose to function properly, but it doesn’t have much space to store those substances. It gets oxygen and glucose from circulating blood. Most strokes are caused by an embolus, which is a blood clot that develops somewhere in the circulatory system and then dislodges, traveling to a blood vessel in the brain. The clot interrupts blood flow and causes surrounding tissue to die. Strokes can be associated with Cushing’s disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, kidney disease and thyroid disease. Internal parasites, ruptured blood vessels, blood clots, tumors, blunt trauma to the head and ingestion of poisons can also contribute to strokes. Sometimes, strokes happen for no recognizable reason. How a stroke affects a dog depends on the location and extent of blood vessel bleeding or blockage. Most strokes happen suddenly. Affected dogs may have a head tilt, balance problems, weakness, disorientation and vision impairment. They also may become paralyzed and lose consciousness.
The effects of a stroke are caused by lack of normal oxygen delivery to the brain. When they occur in dogs, strokes can be associated with Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism), Rocky Mountain spotted fever, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, kidney disease or thyroid disease. In rare cases, internal parasites can contribute to strokes. Most strokes in dogs are caused by an embolus, which is a blood clot that develops at a remote site and then
The effects of a stroke are caused by lack of sufficient oxygen delivery to the brain. Two types of strokes occur in dogs: ischemic strokes and hemorrhagic strokes. Ischemic strokes occur when the blood supply to the brain is compromised, and the brain becomes deprived of oxygen, glucose and other essential nutrients. Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel inside the brain bursts, causing abnormal intracranial bleeding. Regardless of the underlying cause, the symptoms
A dog should be taken to a veterinarian immediately when it shows stroke-like symptoms. The veterinarian will perform a series of tests to rule out other possible causes of neurological signs. If no particular abnormality is identified quickly, additional tests will be necessary to determine whether or not a stroke has occurred. The dog will need to be hospitalized and stabilized while these diagnostic procedures take place.Unfortunately, most strokes in dogs cannot be diagnosed
Dogs suffering from a stroke need immediate veterinarian attention. The goals of therapy are to minimize brain swelling (reduce intracranial pressure) and associated tissue damage, maximize oxygen delivery to the brain, treat any identifiable cause of the stroke and rehabilitate the dog physically. Once the cause of the stroke is determined, the treatment protocol can be determined as well. Early diagnosis and treatment dramatically enhance the outlook for a full recovery.The most important form of
If your dog has had a stroke, you probably are feeling traumatized by the experience. You also are probably anticipating the possibility of a stroke happening again, and wondering what that might mean. Depending upon how well your dog has recovered from its stroke, you may or may not need to provide long-term supportive care at home. If your dog has recently had a stroke, or if you are living with a dog that has