Do Cats and Dogs Have Strokes?

It’s incredible how pets have so much in common with their human family members. They have similar needs for food, shelter, and companionship. They suffer from some of the same illnesses and medical conditions. In fact, cats and dogs have strokes just like humans.

Strokes are one of the more human-like severe conditions. They occur in cats and dogs for the same reasons they occur in humans. It’s all about blood flow.

What Causes Pet Strokes

When cats and dogs have strokes, they often happen suddenly, and they usually affect older pets. Strokes often occur in conjunction with underlying health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and other chronic conditions. Sometimes they happen for no discernible reason.

When cats and dogs have strokes, they have the same types of strokes as humans.

  • Ischemic- This occurs when a blood clot lodges in a vessel and prevents blood from flowing to the brain.
  • Hemorrhagic- This type of stroke happens when a blood vessel ruptures within the brain. The bleeding causes pressure within the brain and often causes damage.

A fibrocartilagenous embolism causes a stroke-like blood flow disturbance. This happens when a piece of cartilage breaks away from a disc. If the embolism lodges in the spine, it can cut off its blood supply.

Cat and Dog Stroke Symptoms

When a pet has a stroke, they often display a range of symptoms. Some are noticeable only with careful observation. A few of the symptoms include.

  • Sudden pain
  • Limb paralysis or weakness
  • Unsteady walking
  • Vision difficulties
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Differences in pupil size

Strokes are a Pet Health Emergency

When you suspect that your pet is having a stroke, it’s an emergency. You must seek treatment immediately. The extent of stroke damage depends on several factors.

  • The type of stroke
  • The affected area of the brain
  • The length of time blood-flow remains interrupted
  • The extent of damage before a vet repairs a brain hemorrhage

Treating Your Pet

If you suspect a stroke, your pet’s doctor will conduct a thorough examination. She may analyze your pet’s blood and stool and perform diagnostic tests to determine their neurological health. Your vet will ask you about your pet’s current symptoms. If you’ve visited the office before, she can review your pet’s health records for additional insights.

If your dog or cat has had a stroke, your vet may recommend a variety of treatments.

  • Oxygen therapy
  • Medications
  • Rest
  • Physical therapy
  • Treatment for heart, kidney or other conditions

Your pet may also require your assistance with emptying their bowel and bladder, personal cleanliness, and maintaining a pleasant environment. Once your pet begins to heal, your veterinarian can evaluate their condition and determine their chances of making a full recovery.

Contact Hebron Veterinary Hospital

If you’d like to learn more about strokes and how they affect your pets, visit our contact page or call us at (860) 228-4324.