Strokes in Dogs | Treatment and Prognosis
PetWave | Dog & Cat Information

Treatment and Prognosis of Strokes in Dogs

Goals of Treating a Stroke

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.

Treatment Options

The most important form of treatment for a dog that has had a stroke is supportive, inpatient nursing care. The dog will be carefully and slowly rehydrated with appropriate intravenous fluids, if necessary. Recumbent patients will be kept warm and dry with soft, absorbent bedding that is changed frequently; their heads should not be placed below body level. They also will need to be turned regularly to prevent pressure sores, pulmonary (lung) congestion and urine scalding. Physical therapy is often recommended as well, and may include therapeutic massage. If the stroke was caused by an underlying systemic disease such as diabetes mellitus or Cushing’s (hyperadrenocorticism), that condition must be treated.

A variety of drugs are available to help dogs suffering from a stroke, including sedatives (to address disorientation and ataxia), antiemetics (to address nausea and vomiting), anti-inflammatories (corticosteroids or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs], to control swelling), anticonvulsants (to control seizures) and antibiotics (when infection cannot be ruled out).

Normally, dietary restrictions are unnecessary. Clinical signs usually improve within 48 to 72 hours of treatment, starting first with resolution of vomiting and restoration of mobility and coordination. Most patients return to normal within several weeks. Recurrence is rare, but it can happen. Unfortunately, permanent disabilities can happen as well.


Most dogs that survive the first few days following a stroke have a good prognosis for full or nearly-full recovery. The long-term outlook depends upon identifying, eliminating or at least controlling the underlying cause of the condition. If a dog displays signs of stroke, he should be taken to his veterinarian or to a nearby veterinary emergency clinic immediately.

Source: PetWave


Dog Has a Hematoma on Ear (Aural Hematomas)

Ear Hematomas in Dogs: Learn about Ear Hematomas, including how they affect your dog, and...

Pregnancy Miscarriage in Dogs (Canine Abortion)

Pregnancy Miscarriages in Dogs: Learn about canine miscarriage including how it can affect your dog,...

Polycythemia in Dogs

Polycythemia in Dogs: Learn about Polycythemia, including how it can affect your dog, and what...

Food Allergies in Dogs

Food Allergies in Dogs: Learn about Food Allergies, including how they can affect your dog,...

Bladder Stones in Dogs

Bladder Stones in Dogs: Learn about Bladder Stones, including how they can affect your dog,...


Dog Health Dog Health
Learn about the most common diseases affecting dogs
Puppy Training Getting a Puppy
A new puppy in the house can cause quite a whirlwind of excitement
Dog Breeds List of Dog Breeds
Comprehensive list of dog breeds with specific breed information

Find a Dog Breed?

With so many dog breeds to choose from, sometime it's easier to seach based on certain characterisitcs.

Caring for your Dog?

There is more to caring for your dog than just feeding it. Find out all you need to know to make sure your pet stays healthy.

Training your Dog?

A dog's behavior plays a key role in making a great pet. Training your dog makes a happier dog, and you will be happier too.

Ask a vet?

Have a question?
Ask a Vet Online NowSM

Ask a Vet

About Us | Review Board | Badges | Tell a Friend | Bookmark this Page | Submit Feedback | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
Dog Breeds | Cat Breeds | Dog Health | Cat Health | Dog Training | Cat Training | Dog Care | Cat Care | Dog Adoption | Cat Food & Diet

Advertise on - A Pet360 Media Network Partner

Become a Fan of on Facebook Become a Fan on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter Email Friend about Tell your friends about PetWave

© 2015 PetWave Corporation. All rights reserved
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a veterinarian. PetWave disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
For more information view our Terms of Service.