Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: North Central Wisconsin
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Actual strokes in dogs are relatively rare. Common symptoms are a tilted head, only eats out of one side of its food bowl, falls, no bladder control or bowel movement control, or is blind. It happens when the blood flow to the brain is either stopped or increased. Canine Strokes that occur due to a sudden stop of blood flow to the brain are called Ischaemic strokes. Canine strokes that occur due to bleeding in the brain are called Hemorrhagic strokes.
Most of the time, what people think of as a stroke is actually canine vestibular syndrome. This seems to happen more with senior dogs, but it can happen with younger dogs. It is important to get a veterinarian's diagnosis so that you know whether it is a true stroke or vestibular syndrome. Vestibular syndrome is very treatable and most dogs will recover from it with no or few lasting symptoms.
I have had at least 5 senior Goldens with vestibular syndrome, and one had it 3 times but she lived to be 17 years old with only a slight head tilt after the last time. All of my dogs presented with head tilt, nausea, "whirl-a-gig" eyes and an inability to walk (due to the extreme dizziness.) They also seemed to like to face into corners, as I think there was less to look at and they could feel comfortable closing their eyes. All recovered within a few days, although severe cases can take longer to resolve.
Tahnee Golden Retrievers