Dog Stroke Recovery

Dog stroke recovery has a good prognosis, depending upon a dog's overall health condition and the severity of the stroke that has occurred. There are two types of strokes that can cause blood flow to be temporarily blocked from the brain. Each of these leads to similar symptoms, but can be caused by different types of health problems.

The ultimate goal of dog stroke recovery is to treat the underlying condition so that additional strokes can be prevented in the future.

Ischemic Stroke

An ischemic stroke occurs when a blocked artery causes the blood to stop flowing to the brain for a short period of time. There are many diseases that can potentially lead to this type of stroke. Kidney or heart disease may cause arterial blockages and diabetes, hypertension or an obstruction within the arterial walls may also lead to disruption of blood flow. The stroke recovery prognosis is normally good, but you'll want to discover the underlying cause of the stroke and make attempts to prevent further damage.

Hemorrhagic Stroke

If caught in time, stroke recovery can result from hemorrhagic stroke as well. This type of stroke is caused by bleeding in the brain, generally due to a ruptured blood vessel. Any disease that leads to high blood pressure can result in this type of stroke. Additionally, hemorrhagic stroke can be caused by:

  • exposure to toxins or poisons
  • brain tumors
  • head traumas
  • inflammation of the arteries
  • certain types of parasites

Dog Stroke Symptoms

Symptoms of a dog stroke can vary greatly, and the stroke recovery process will depend upon permanent damage that may be caused by lasting symptoms. Signs may indicate one of many different underlying conditions, so you'll want to participate in testing to help reveal the true cause of the stroke.

Visible symptoms that may indicate stroke include:

  1. tilting of the head
  2. temporary blindness
  3. disorientation
  4. inability to control balance
  5. lethargy 
  6. loss of control of bowels or bladder

Dogs may behave strangely during a stroke and for a period of time during stroke recovery.

Treating Dog Stroke

Dog stroke recovery will depend largely upon response to treatment after the event. The ultimate goal will be to prevent any present disease or infection from disrupting blood flow to the brain in the future. There are no specific treatments designed to reverse the effects of a stroke, and brain damage due to either type of stroke cannot be cured. The lasting effects of a stroke in dogs may not be as severe as one might expect.

Dogs should recover from a stroke fairly quickly and regain a majority of their motor functionality, as well as their old behavior style. It's not uncommon, however, for an owner to notice subtle personality changes. Rarely, a dog may find difficulty recovering the use of limbs or regaining old behavior style, especially if age is a factor. Physical therapy may be beneficial, but if lasting symptoms interfere greatly with the dog's quality of life, it may be preferable to euthanize.