Stroke in Dogs: What it is, Symptoms and What to do

Ictus en Perros: Qué es, Síntomas y Qué hacer

As responsible owners of our pets, it is necessary to know about pathologies that can affect them. That is why on this occasion, Waggy's collected valuable information regarding Stroke in dogs. Stay reading this blog and let's discover what it is, what its symptoms are, its causes, risk factors, treatment, recovery, prevention and much more.

Are you ready? Remember that we are the ones in charge of providing them with the life they deserve. Go for it.

What is stroke in dogs?

Stroke in dogs is a neurological event that occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted either by an embolism, thrombosis or cerebral hemorrhage. This event compromises brain oxygenation, so the cells of said organ are affected and in some cases may stop functioning. There are two types of stroke in dogs:

Ischemic or embolic

This type of stroke occurs when there is a blockage in a blood vessel that prevents the normal flow of blood to the brain. It may be caused by a blood clot or a buildup of fatty material in the blood vessels.


In this case, the stroke is caused by the rupture of a blood vessel, leading to bleeding in the brain. The pressure from the bleeding can damage surrounding brain tissue.

What causes a stroke in dogs? Causes

There are actually many causes that can generate this pathology in our pet. However, Waggys shares which are the most common:

Vascular disease

Problems in the blood vessels, such as the buildup of cholesterol plaques or inflammation of the artery walls, can cause blockages that prevent normal blood flow to the brain.


The formation of emboli (blood clots, masses of tissue, or other substances) that travel through the bloodstream and lodge in brain vessels, blocking blood flow.

Arterial hypertension

High blood pressure can damage blood vessels and increase the risk of brain hemorrhages.

Heart diseases

Heart problems such as valvular disease, congestive heart failure or arrhythmias can predispose to the formation of clots that can travel to the brain.

Cerebral venous thrombosis

Clot formation in the veins of the brain, which can affect blood supply.

Head trauma

Head injuries that affect the cerebral blood vessels.

Brain tumors

The pressure exerted by a tumor in the brain can interfere with blood flow.

Systemic diseases

Some systemic diseases, such as pancreatitis or kidney disease, can contribute to the development of cerebrovascular events.

inflammatory diseases

Autoimmune or inflammatory disorders, such as vasculitis, can affect blood vessels in the brain.

Symptoms of stroke in dogs

The symptoms of this disease can greatly alarm us because its signs appear very abruptly. These might be:

  • Difficulty standing or walking in a coordinated manner.
  • The dog may persistently tilt his head to one side.
  • Lack of coordination in the extremities, which may manifest as stumbling, staggering, or falling.
  • Alterations in the dog's usual behavior, such as confusion, disorientation, changes in sleeping patterns, or lack of response to familiar commands.
  • Difficulty swallowing food or water.
  • Loss of motor function in one or more extremities, or even on one side of the body.
  • Loss of vision, abnormal eye movements, or changes in response to visual stimuli.
  • Some dogs may experience seizures as a result of a stroke.

Stroke risk factors in dogs

Advanced age

As in humans, advanced age is a risk factor for cerebrovascular events in dogs. As they age, the likelihood of developing chronic diseases and other health problems that can contribute to stroke events increases.

Traumatic injuries

Head trauma, such as blows to the head or injuries that directly affect the brain, can increase the risk of strokes in dogs. This is because trauma can damage blood vessels and predispose them to clot formation.

Chronic diseases

The presence of chronic diseases, such as kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease or autoimmune diseases, may increase the risk of cerebrovascular events in dogs. These diseases affect general health and can compromise vascular function. Therefore, if you notice that your dog does not want to eat , suffers from constipation in dogs or gas in dogs, you should automatically take him for a consultation as these are signs of a chronic disease that is affecting your puppy.

Treatment for stroke in dogs

Treatment for stroke in dogs should be provided by veterinary professionals.

Professional Treatment

  • The veterinarian will perform a complete physical examination, along with diagnostic tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) to confirm the diagnosis and evaluate the severity of the event.
  • Depending on the cause and severity, medications may be given to control symptoms. For example, anti-inflammatory or anticonvulsant medications may be prescribed.
  • Intravenous fluid therapy may be required to maintain hydration and support cardiovascular function. Additionally, physical therapies and rehabilitation can be administered to help the dog regain motor function and improve coordination.
  • If the stroke is caused by a disease such as hypertension, heart disease, or diabetes, the veterinarian will work to treat and control those conditions.
  • In severe cases, hospitalization and intensive care may be required, especially if there are complications such as brain edema or breathing problems.

Home Treatment (under veterinary supervision)

  • Provide a calm and comfortable environment for the dog to minimize stress and allow for recovery.
  • If medications are prescribed, strictly follow the veterinarian's instructions regarding doses and schedules.
  • Observe the dog closely for changes in behavior, additional symptoms, or signs of complications. Communicate regularly with the veterinarian for updates and adjustments to the treatment plan.

Recovery of a dog with a stroke, is it possible?

A dog's recovery after a stroke can vary significantly depending on the severity of the event, how quickly treatment was sought, and the cause of the stroke. The strokes that have the best prognosis are ischemic strokes, while hemorrhagic strokes usually have a poor prognosis. It is important to note that some dogs may recover partially or completely, while others may experience long-term effects.

How to prevent a stroke in dogs?

Stroke in dogs cannot always be prevented, as it happens with people. However, with ownership and nutrition appropriate to the species, you can protect it from certain diseases that cause it:

Regular checkups

Scheduling regular veterinary checkups is essential to detecting and addressing any underlying medical conditions before they become a serious problem.

In case your puppy does not like to visit the veterinarian, I recommend that you give him Waggy's brand puppy treats because they contain CBD for dogs , which helps a lot to level the stress and anxiety levels in dogs before to go to your session, which will be beneficial for everyone. In addition, one of its other ingredients is Omega 3 for dogs , a necessary and essential component for the development of the puppy.

Healthy diet

Providing a balanced diet appropriate for the dog's age and health is essential. Consult your veterinarian about the most appropriate diet to prevent obesity and maintain cardiovascular health. You could try the barf diet

Regular exercise

Encouraging regular physical activity is crucial to maintaining dogs' overall and cardiovascular health. Exercise helps maintain a healthy weight and promotes blood circulation.

Stress management

Chronic stress can contribute to health problems. Providing a calm and safe environment, with stable routines, can help reduce stress in dogs.

Tips for treating a stroke in dogs

  • Immediate veterinary care is crucial to improve chances of recovery. Prompt treatment can help control symptoms, minimize damage, and address any causes.
  • Depending on the severity and nature of the stroke, veterinarians may prescribe medications to control symptoms such as seizures, swelling, and pain. Additionally, physical therapy and rehabilitation can be beneficial in helping the dog regain motor function and improve coordination.
  • Pet owners play an important role in recovery by providing a calm environment, emotional support, and administering any medications as directed by the veterinarian.


In conclusion, stroke in dogs is a serious cerebrovascular event that can have various causes, including cardiovascular diseases, trauma and other medical conditions. Symptoms can vary, but commonly include loss of balance, changes in behavior, and neurological problems.

Prevention is key, and is achieved through regular veterinary checkups, a balanced diet, adequate exercise, and management of chronic diseases. At any sign of stroke, owners should seek veterinary care immediately. Taking care of the general health of our pets contributes significantly to their well-being and longevity.

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