What Does A Dog Stroke Look Like?

A good number of us already know what stroke looks like in humans; probably because we have seen or known someone that has had a stroke. However, the question ‘what does a dog stroke look like?’ might not be an easy one to answer.

What does a dog stroke look like
Image by Karsten Paulick from Pixabay

The interesting thing about stroke in dogs is that it has similarities with stroke in humans.

However, while humans can easily communicate their discomforts, leading someone to do something about it, our dogs cannot. It is entirely up to us to find out if anything is wrong.

That said, before we go into finding out what the signs are, did you know that there is more than one kind of stroke that dogs can have?

Kinds Of Stroke In Dogs

There are basically two kinds of stroke in dogs: ischemic stroke and haemorrhagic stroke.

But before we go on to explain those, it is important for us to explain that stroke in dogs is basically a lack of blood in the brain which could lead to some neurological abnormalities (source).

That said, this loss of blood in the brain could be caused by either of two things which are representative of the two kinds of stroke.

With ischemic stroke, blood vessels leading to the brain are blocked which limits or restricts the amount of blood the brain can get. This blockage can be caused by bacteria, blood clots and even tumour cells.

On the other hand, there is the haemorrhagic stroke. With this kind, the brain actually loses the blood that gets to it. This kind is not really common with dogs and is usually a result of some sort of head trauma.

Well, there is actually another kind of stroke that your dog might have and it has nothing to do with the brain. The fibrocartileginous embolism is caused by a blocked vessel in the spinal cord (source) and is also not very common with dogs.

What Does A Dog Stroke Look Like?

Some common symptoms include abnormal eye positioning or movements, uncoordinated walking, lilting to one side, general abnormal behavior and maybe even fainting.

The thing with these symptoms is that they could all happen really rapidly. So, one minute your dog could be all fine and dandy and the next they can’t move from where they are.

Before we find out the factors that could predispose a dog to having a stroke though, check out this video for more signs of a stroke in dogs.

Predispositions To Dog Stroke

There are a number of things that could predispose a dog to stroke. And for haemorrhagic stroke, the chief cause is a head trauma. So, if your dog has ever taken a hit to the head and has bled in the head as a result, chances are that they could have a stroke.

As for the ischemic kind, many things could be risk factors. Cushing’s disease, kidney disease, diabetes, cancer and hypertension are some risk factors to pay attention to (source).

Now, as far as breeds go, no studies have been able to show a relationship between breed and a predisposition to stroke.

However, you’ll need to bear in mind that if your dog’s breed is predisposed to any of the risk factors, they are kinda indirectly at risk of getting a stroke.

Check out these other articles:

What To Do If Your Dog Is Showing Symptoms Of A Stroke

Cheshire Animal
Image by Mylene2401 from Pixabay

Seeing as the symptoms could progress really fast, it is important that you take action fast. If you notice any kind of abnormal behavior from your dog, you’ll need to report them immediately to your veterinarian. You’ll have to push for a diagnosis with your vet if they do not immediately suggest one.

The reason is some of these symptoms could be indicative of something else entirely. Getting a diagnosis helps narrow things down and allows for very specific treatments.

Now, just so that you are aware, the first thing your vet will do is to conduct an MRI or CT scan. Other tests like a urinalysis and bloodwork could be conducted just to be sure.

And once it has been ascertained that it is a stroke, the major thing your vet will try to do is get the swelling down and re-instigate blood flow to the brain.

Having satisfactorily answered the ‘what does a dog stroke look like?’ question, we must mention that the most important asset to have through all of this is calm. Do not panic and be sure that your dog will be able to get through this.

What Does A Dog Stroke Look Like? — FAQs

How Do You Rehab A Dog After A Stroke?

Your vet will recommend the appropriate measures for you to help your dog with rehab after a stroke. Most likely, they’ll ask you to allow your dog a lot of rest.

You’ll probably be asked to confine your dog to its crate or a space where they won’t be disturbed by people. Only after a period of rest as defined by your vet should you begin to help your dog regain mobility if it lost it.

Can You Give A Dog Aspirin As Stroke Treatment?

if your vet has recommended aspirin for your dog after a stroke, then it is certainly fine. Make sure, though, that you get your dog to the vet if you suspect that they are having a stroke instead of trying to administer aspirin yourself.

Can A Dog Have A Mini Stroke?

A dog can have a mini stroke which might make them kinda dizzy or be partially blind in one eye. However, it is difficult to notice this because dogs can’t talk and they usually try not to show pain or discomfort unless it has become totally unbearable.

What Do You Do When A Dog Has A Stroke?

Your first response should be to take your dog to the vet. That said, when your dog has been allowed to go home, bear in mind that your dog will be needing your assistance a lot more than they used to, at least till they are fully recovered.

So, someone will have to be there to help your dog with eating, drinking, and even pooing and weeing. If you’ll not be available all the time, make sure someone is.

Can A Dog Recover From A Stroke?

Certainly, a dog can recover from a stroke. Typically, dogs that have a stroke begin to recover in a couple of days and might be almost fully recovered in 6 weeks.

However, bear in mind that things might get worse before they get better. A dog with stroke might have its symptoms worsen within 24 to 78 hours. But after that, things should start to get better.

Is A Stroke Painful?

The stroke in itself is not painful. However, very few dogs might end up developing post stroke pain and that could be really painful.

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