While you may have never thought about the possibility of your pet having a stroke, they’re a somewhat common health condition. In this article, we’ll explain the underlying causes of strokes, how to diagnose them, and what to do if your dog has been affected by one.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. What Are Strokes In Dogs?
2. What Causes Strokes In Dogs?
3. The Risk Of Heat Strokes In Dogs
4. How To Prevent Heat Strokes In Dogs
5. Symptoms Of Strokes In Dogs
6. How To Tell The Difference Between Vestibular Disease And Strokes In Dogs
7. Treatment For Strokes In Dogs
8. How Are Strokes In Dogs Diagnosed?
9. Prognosis For Strokes In Dogs
What Are Strokes In Dogs?
Strokes are a fairly common problem among humans, with thousands of lives being lost to them every year. Until recently, however, it was thought that only a small percentage of cats and dogs were affected by strokes. Now, thanks to advances in technology and new tests being conducted, we realize that strokes in pets are much more common than we used to believe.
A stroke, also known as a cerebrovascular accident, occurs when the blood supply to an animal’s brain is lower than it should be. Since the brain is one of the most important, if not the most important, organ in your pet’s body, this is a serious and life-threatening issue. The brain requires a constant flow of nutrients and oxygen to function properly, both of which it receives from blood.
There are three types of strokes that can occur in dogs. The first, and most common, is an ischemic stroke, which is caused by an unexpected loss of blood to your dog’s brain. The second is a hemorrhagic stroke, which means that there is internal bleeding in your pet’s brain, usually caused by a burst blood vessel. And the third kind is a fibrocartilaginous embolism, which occurs when a disk piece of your dog’s back breaks free and makes its way into their spinal cord. This kind of stroke is much rarer than the first two and usually takes place extremely quickly.
What Causes Strokes In Dogs?
An embolus stroke can be caused by other items moving through your pet’s bloodstream, like fatty debris or loose cartilage. If your pet is having a hemorrhagic stroke, then the cause is just the opposite; your dog’s blood isn’t clotting as it should, and is instead of letting blood bleed into their brain. The brain is dependent on a consistent blood flow more than just about any other organ. It needs blood to deliver nutrients and oxygen, as well as to remove waste. Strokes are caused when anything interrupts or blocks the blood flow to your pet’s brain. The most common reasons for blockage are thrombosis and embolus. Thrombosis means that there is blood coagulation blocking the flow of blood in what area of an artery, whereas an embolus means that there is a free-floating blood clot in your pet’s artery.
The following are usually behind the cause of strokes in dogs:
While it’s known that these are the primary factors that cause a stroke to occur, it’s usually exceedingly difficult to identify the cause of stroke in reality. If your dog has had a stroke, your vet will likely have a difficult time discovering the cause.
The Risk Of Heat Strokes In Dogs
Another kind of stroke that can happen in dogs is a heat stroke. Heat strokes are usually the result of hyperthermia. Not to be confused with hypothermia, hyperthermia means that your pet’s body temperature has gone above a safe level. Your dog’s temperature should be between 99.8 and 102.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat strokes differ from a fever in that they are caused by external factors, like extreme weather, rather than a virus.
Heat strokes generally occur in dogs during late spring and early summer. During this period of time, your pet is still acclimating to the change in weather. So if they spend too much time outside or if the weather changes too quickly, a heat stroke can occur. If you’re concerned that your dog may be having a heat stroke, pay close attention to their behavior.
Dogs experiencing a heat stroke will pant frequently, evaporating saliva and sweat. They will also seek cool spots, shade, and water, and will minimize their activity levels as much as possible. Dogs that have dense coats, are young or old, dehydrated, in a poorly ventilated area, or are overweight are more likely to suffer a heat stroke. Heat strokes damage your pet’s blood cells, reduce organ performance, and even cause seizures. Once your dog becomes overheated, their necessary bodily functions will begin to shut down.
How To Prevent Heat Strokes In Dogs
While heat strokes are a serious condition, they’re usually pretty easy to spot and prevent! When taking your dog out on a hot day, pay close attention to their behavior, and take any measures you can to ensure that they are cool and comfortable. During the summer, take shorter walks with your pet and limit the amount of time they spend playing outdoors.