How to identify a stroke in a dog?

 How to identify a stroke in a dog?

Tracy Wilkins

Another of the diseases in the human world that has a "version" for pets, stroke in dogs may not be as common, but it is just as dangerous. With different possibilities of causes, it happens when there is something preventing the arrival of blood in the animal's brain. Neurological signs, such as seizures in dogs, is one of the main symptoms of stroke, which needs to be treated immediately so that the severity of the sequelae can be controlled more easily. To understand a little more about the condition, we talked to Gabriel Mora de Barros, veterinarian of the Vet Popular group. Take a look at what he explained!

Home Paws: What causes a stroke in a dog?

Gabriel Mora de Barros: Stroke (cerebrovascular accident), currently known as cerebrovascular accident (CVA), is a very common pathological condition in humans. In animals, it can also happen, although it is much less frequent than in our species. The vascular accident can be caused by some situations that alter the blood distribution profile in the brain. In someAt this point, there is an interruption in the flow of blood to the brain (ischemic stroke), which can be caused by a thrombus (a large clot that does not allow blood to pass through the blood vessels) or a ruptured blood vessel. This leads to a leakage of blood inside the brain and, consequently, the rupture means that the blood cannot reach where it should.

Most of the time, this is related to heart problems (which generate the clots that end up in the brain); primary brain tumors; migration of parasites (worms) to the head region; clots from a recently performed surgery; clotting disorders (there are some animals that clot much more than they should); infectious diseases such as ehrlichiosis (famous disease of thetick, in which platelets - responsible for clotting - decrease in circulation and cannot act in time when a blood vessel ruptures), among others.

See_also: Is heart attack possible in dogs? Veterinarian clarifies all doubts on the subject

PC: What are the symptoms of a stroke in dogs?

GMB: Animals that have a stroke may present with different clinical conditions. In particular, neurological changes - just like in humans - are the most prevalent, such as: seizures in dogs, hemiparalysis (when only one side of the body is paralyzed), difficulty maintaining posture (the animal cannot stand or cannot support its head, for example), orexample), hyperthermia (high body temperature not followed by infection), tetraparalysis (all four limbs and both sides of the animal are paralyzed), involuntary eye movements (we call it nystagmus, when the eyes move unnecessarily and most of the time, very fast, leaving the animal even more confused), among others.

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PC: What should the guardian do when realizing that the animal is having a stroke?

GMB: When a guardian notices that the animal is showing neurological signs that it has not had before, they should immediately put that animal in a comfortable place. That way, if it convulses or tries to get up and falls, it will be protected and will not hurt itself. Then that animal should be immediately taken to the nearest veterinary hospital. The sooner the diagnosis is made,the better.

The tests that will establish that it is a case of stroke in a dog are the imaging tests, such as CT scan, for example. It must be done under general anesthesia in veterinary medicine, as animals cannot move during the process. Therefore, we often end up "diagnosing" the stroke with the clinical signs, until a CT scan can be done in a specialized center.

PC: What are the possible short and long term side effects of a dog stroke?

GMB: The short-term side effects are the neurological symptoms that indicate stroke in dogs. Unfortunately, the accident can cause irreversible lifelong sequelae, even if the animal is treated quickly. They can be shaking, difficulty blinking one or both eyes, difficulty swallowing, difficulty walking, etc. There are animals that are not left with any sequelae and whoare able to reverse 100% of the clinical situation after supportive medical treatment and hospitalization.

PC: How does the treatment of the animal after stroke in dogs work?

GMB: Treatment after stroke is varied. The type of dog stroke medications and therapies used for recovery will depend on what possible sequelae the animal has and what clinical changes it developed when it had the stroke. For example, animals that have had seizure sequelae may have isolated or frequent seizure episodes and require medication ofOther animals may only have some locomotion disorders that do not necessarily require drug treatment, but rather physiotherapy, acupuncture and hydrotherapy. It is worth mentioning that overweight animals, because they have a more inflamed metabolism profile, are more likely to have heart problems or a new stroke,that is: it is very important to keep your pet's health and weight up to date.

PC: Is there any way to prevent this kind of condition in animals?

GMB: The quality of life is what decreases the chances of the animal having a stroke. Obese or overweight dogs should lose weight, those with hypertension should take medication to control it, animals with chronic diseases need to be always accompanied by their veterinarians, etc. Routine examination every 6 months at least will make doctors suspicious and realize long before they have a stroke.the animal is likely to have a chronic disease and avoid it wherever possible.

Tracy Wilkins

Jeremy Cruz is a passionate animal lover and dedicated pet parent. With a background in veterinary medicine, Jeremy has spent years working alongside veterinarians, gaining invaluable knowledge and experience in caring for dogs and cats. His genuine love for animals and commitment to their well-being led him to create the blog Everything you need to know about dogs and cats, where he shares expert advice from veterinarians, owners, and respected experts in the field, including Tracy Wilkins. By combining his expertise in veterinary medicine with insights from other respected professionals, Jeremy aims to provide a comprehensive resource for pet owners, helping them understand and address their beloved pets' needs. Whether it's training tips, health advice, or simply spreading awareness about animal welfare, Jeremy's blog has become a go-to source for pet enthusiasts seeking reliable and compassionate information. Through his writing, Jeremy hopes to inspire others to become more responsible pet owners and create a world where all animals receive the love, care, and respect they deserve.