The American Animal Hospital Association offers excellent information for pet owners on a wide variety of subjects. The article below has very important information about strokes in dogs and understanding the different types of strokes and their signs. As an accredited AAHA Animal Hospital we highly recommend the Pets Matter Newsletter put out by the AAHA.
By Sharon Seltzer
Strokes in dogs are less common than they are in people, but when one strikes the condition is equally as serious as a human stroke. There are three major forms of canine strokes, and it is important for pet owners to be aware of their causes and warning signs so they will know what to do if their dog has a stroke.
The two most common forms of canine strokes occur when an artery in the brain becomes blocked and cuts off oxygen to the area or when blood vessels in the brain rupture and hemorrhage. Both of these are serious conditions that need immediate treatment. These strokes are called cerebrovascular accidents (CVA) or transient ischemic attacks (TIA).
The third type of stroke seen in dogs is called a fibrocartilaginous embolism (FCE). It happens after a small piece of disc material inside the back breaks off and drifts into the spinal cord. This type of stroke happens very quickly when a dog is playing, jumping, or running.
Signs of Strokes in Dogs
Dog owners may see a variety of signs immediately following a stroke, but some are subtle and hard to notice if you don’t know what to look for. To make matters worse, there are typically no signs warning that a stroke is going to happen. After a stroke occurs, problems can worsen in a short period of time if the stroke is left untreated.
Here are some common signs of a canine stroke:
- Walking in circles or turning the wrong way when called
- Head tilted to one side
- Difficulty with balance and standing
- Extreme lethargy
- Loss of control over bladder and bowels or vomiting
Learn what to do for strokes in dogs here aahanet.org