Stroke in dogs is a condition that requires immediate veterinarian treatment. Once a stroke has been diagnosed the treatments will begin as soon as possible. The treatment protocol for stroke in dogs depends on what type of stroke has occurred, and why the dog has experienced a stroke. Early diagnosis and treatment will drastically increase the outlook for a full recovery. If your dog displays any signs of symptoms of stroke, take your dog to a veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately.
There are two types of strokes that can occur in dogs: ischemic strokes and hemorrhagic strokes. Ischemic strokes occur when the blood supply to the brain has been reduced and the brain becomes oxygen starved. Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a vessel in the brain bursts and bleeding in the brain occurs. While strokes in dogs are not common, there are a variety of disorders and conditions that can cause a stroke to occur.
Treating a Stroke in Dogs
Treatment for a stroke in dogs focuses on supporting care, and addressing the cause of the stroke. If the stroke has been caused by an underlying medical condition such as diabetes or Cushing's disease, the underlying medical condition must be brought under control in order for the stroke to be treated. If the stroke has been caused by an injury to the brain, or infection of the brain, support care and medicines are administered.
Medication which may help to reduce any permanent effects of a stroke include anti-inflammatory treatments such as corticosteroids to control the swelling in the brain and anti-seizure medicines. Intravenous fluid therapies are also provided to help combat shock.
Recovery from a stroke can take days, to weeks, to months. It all depends on how much damaged occurred and how quickly treatments were begun. Pet owners may also need to provide support care at home for the recovery period. Fortunately, most dogs that have experienced a stroke have a good prognosis.