Learn to Recognize the Signs Your Dog Might Have Had a Stroke

1 November 2018
 Categories: , Blog

It's sad to think about, but dogs can suffer from strokes just as humans can. It's a relatively rare problem in the canine community, but it's still one to take seriously. Treatment should be sought to minimize brain swelling and further damage if your dog is to continue living a healthy life.

The only way to accurately diagnose a stroke is through an MRI or CT scan. Of course, you probably don't have those machines lying around at home, but you can keep an eye out for the follow signs of stroke in your dog. If you notice them, seek veterinary services as soon as possible.

Head Tilt

When your dog starts holding its head at an angle, it means there's something wrong with their balance centre. This can actually happen for a number of reasons; since balance centres are affected by ear as well as brain issues, you could be looking at a simple ear infection. That said, head tilt is also one of the most common signs of stroke, so you should consider it reason enough to seek the attention of a vet.

Confused Movement

Head tilt is commonly associated with confused movement—after all, a dog won't be able to move as well if there's something wrong with their balance centre. Your dog may simply have trouble balancing while standing. In some cases, they'll barely be able to stay on all four paws. In other cases, dogs will be able to move but won't seem to go in the direction they intended. They may walk in circles or go the wrong way when you call them.

Visual Problems

Blindness in one eye is a common sign of stroke in humans. Dogs can also suffer visual problems, but they can't tell you it's happening. Watch for signs your dog's vision is impaired, especially if you notice any of the other signs on this list. One eye may be positioned oddly or move in an abnormal fashion. A good way to track this is by moving a favourite ball in front of the dog to see how their eyes track it.

Sudden Lethargy

Most dogs can go through periods where they just want to lie around and relax, but extreme lethargy should be seen as a possible sign of stroke, especially if it seems to come on out of nowhere. If your dog suddenly seems more tired than usual or falls asleep suddenly after being full of energy the second before, they might have had a stroke.