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What You Need to Know About Your Dog and Strokes

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When your dog gets sick, you do whatever you can to help them, right? What if you do not know how to help them? Or worse, maybe you do not even know they are sick until it is too late. That is the case with strokes in dogs. Many owners accidentally overlook or do not know the warning signs of a stroke. Bringing light to this event is important; it may even save a life.
What is a stroke?
A stroke occurs when the brain does not receive enough blood. This happens on two occasions: when a blood clot blocks circulation or when a blood vessel ruptures causing bleeding in the brain. The brain tries to expand, but the skull prevents it from swelling, increasing pressure. When pressure increases in the brain, tissue is destroyed. This can occur due to high blood pressure, infection, inflammation, cancer, toxins, and other diseases.
There are tell-tale signs of this happening, some more noticeable than others.
The severity of the symptoms depends on the amount of bleeding in the brain.
Symptoms include:
  • dizziness
  • staggering
  • falling
  • leaning
  • rolling
  • inability to get up
  • eyes flickering back and forth
  • collapse
  • drooling
  • dazed look
  • seizure
  • blindness
  • deviated eye
  • stiff or twisted neck
Are strokes treatable?
Initially, conventional medicine is the best treatment to stabilize the patient. IV fluids and corticosteroids are added to minimize brain swelling and increase circulation. Valium can be used to control seizures and acupuncture can help other stroke symptoms. 
If caught early enough, dogs have a great chance of recovery, although not all symptoms will permanently go away. Dogs can be left with dizziness, seizures, or paralysis. 
Is stroke in dogs preventable?
Dogs over seven years old should have regular check ups with blood tests to detect stroke causing diseases. Antioxidants and Aspirin can be given to dogs to decrease clot formation. In the event of a stroke, get your dog to a veterinary hospital right away. 
Knowing the science and symptoms of stroke will make you a better equipped dog owner!

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