Stroke in dogs – a neurological condition and among quadrupeds, not only in humans. Pets are prone to this condition, which was considered a rare pathology among dogs and cats. However, thanks to the evolution in veterinary neurology, the causes that can lead to a stroke in dogs can be identified in advance. Also, recovery is much more efficient and faster than in the case of a stroke in human medicine. In this article, we will present the causes, symptoms, and possible treatments for this condition.
Stroke in dogs – Causes
The causes of a stroke in a dog are various. This condition is characterized by decreased blood flow to the brain. There are two types of strokes (strokes):
– Hemorrhagic stroke – which occur due to blood clots, tumor cells, clumps of platelets, bacteria and parasites; and bleeds in the brain
– Ischemic stroke – compromising blood flow in some regions of the brain
Strokes in dogs occur as a result of metastatic tumours and variations in blood pressure, extreme temperatures, advanced hepato-renal diseases, diabetes, or advanced old age. Also, in case of a hemorrhagic stroke there may be a loss of blood in the nerve tissue (intraparenchymal hemorrhage) or between the brain and the skull (subdural or subarachnoid hemorrhage). Geriatric pets with heart or overweight problems are more prone to this neurological condition.
Kidney illness, Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism), hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, bleeding problems, hypothyroidism, cancer, and in certain situations, excessive dosages of steroids like prednisone can induce stroke in dogs. While no one breed is more likely than another to have a stroke, species prone to sure of the underlying disorders that cause them, such as King Charles Cavalier Spaniels, which have a high prevalence of heart disease, may be predisposed to strokes.
The following are some of the underlying problems that might cause a dog stroke:
• A blood clot blocks an artery.
• Cushing’s disease is a hormonal imbalance that affects the body.
• Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a disease that affects people in the Rocky Mountains
• Mellitus (Diabetes Mellitus)
• Coronary artery disease
• Kidney disease
• Bleeding problems
• Steroidal exposure
• Trauma to the head
• Dislodged tissue becomes stuck in the brain.
• Abnormal brain development
In many cases, the underlying reason for a dog’s stroke is never discovered.
Stroke in dogs – Exposure to excessive heat
Stroke in dogs can be caused by exposure of pets to excessive heat. Abnormal body temperature can cause abnormalities in the nervous system, manifest by weakness, collapse, lethargy or coma. Hyperthermia can develop due to excessive muscle activity, as there is difficulty in releasing heat from the body due to moisture or respiratory obstruction. Leaving the pet in the car, with the windows closed without any source of ventilation, on a hot summer day is probably the most common cause of a vascular attack in dogs.
The heat accumulated in the body of pets is usually dissipated from their skin. This is manifested by shortness of breath, which allows water to evaporate from the respiratory tract. If this method of heat dissipation is suppressed, then hyperthermia and stroke can develop in dogs. At temperatures above 42 ° C (109 Fahrenheit), the animal’s ability to breathe is impaired and vital organs may be affected.
The pets most prone to stroke are:
– Overweight dogs
– Dogs subjected to excessive physical activity
– Dogs that are dehydrated
– Dogs suffering from diseases that obstruct their airways
– Dogs with pre-existing fever
– Dogs suffering from heart disease
– Older pets (large dogs over seven years old and small dogs over 14 years old) or dogs up to 6 months old
– Pets with a history of seizures
Stroke in dogs – Symptoms
Stroke symptoms in dogs vary and can be frequently confused with other medical illnesses such as vertigo, ear infections, brain tumors, and seizure disorders.
If you see indications of a possible stroke in your dog, take him to your veterinarian right enough so MRIs and another testing can rule out other causes and treatment can begin.
Here are some of the signs and symptoms you could encounter in a dog that has had a stroke:
• Loss of balance or coordination
• Loss of bowel or bladder control
• Head tilting
• Walking in circles
• Nystagmus (uncontrollable eye movement)
• Falling to one side
• Abnormal behavior
• Loss of appetite
• Eating out of only one side of the bowl
• Loss of consciousness
• Paralysis on one side of the body
Stroke in dogs – Treatment
The goal of stroke treatment for dogs is to restore oxygen supply to the brain, reduce swelling, and address any underlying problems.
Veterinarians may use several drugs to alleviate symptoms. Antiemetics can assist with nausea, sedatives can aid with disorientation, anti-inflammatories like corticosteroids can help with swelling and inflammation, and anticonvulsants can help with seizures.
Veterinarians may prescribe dietary restrictions. Seizures seldom repeat unless an underlying problem remains untreated, and dogs usually recover to normal within a few weeks.