Jun 13, 2024




Recognizing Signs of Stroke in Dogs

Stroke in Dogs

THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The content included on this website is for informational and educational purposes only. Always consult with your healthcare provider regarding any medical condition and before starting any healthcare or medication regimen.

A stroke, or cerebrovascular accident (CVA), is a serious medical condition that affects both humans and dogs. It occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. This can lead to significant neurological damage. Recognizing the signs of stroke in dogs is crucial for seeking timely veterinary care, which can improve outcomes and recovery. 

This article explores the signs of stroke in dogs, what actions to take, and how CareCard prescription discount cards can help reduce the cost of medications necessary for treatment and management.

Understanding a Stroke in Dogs

What is a Stroke?

A stroke in dogs, similar to humans, occurs when there is a disruption in the blood flow to the brain. This can be due to:

  • Ischemic Stroke: Caused by a blood clot or other blockage in the brain's blood vessels.

  • Hemorrhagic Stroke: Caused by the rupture of a blood vessel in the brain, leading to bleeding.

Both types of stroke can lead to permanent neurological damage if not treated promptly.

Causes of Stroke in Dogs

Several factors can increase the risk of stroke in dogs, including:

  • Underlying Medical Conditions: Conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, Cushing's disease, and diabetes.

  • High Blood Pressure: Hypertension can lead to blood vessel damage.

  • Clotting Disorders: Issues with blood clotting can lead to blockages in the brain.

  • Head Trauma: Injury to the head can cause bleeding in the brain.

  • Infections: Severe infections that affect the brain can also lead to stroke.

Recognizing Signs of Stroke in Dogs

Identifying the signs of stroke in dogs early is critical for prompt treatment. Here are the key symptoms to watch for:

1. Sudden Loss of Balance

One of the most common signs of stroke in dogs is a sudden loss of balance. This may be displayed as:

  • Stumbling or Falling: The dog may appear uncoordinated or frequently stumble.

  • Head Tilting: The dog may tilt its head to one side persistently.

  • Circling: The dog may walk in circles, often in the same direction.

2. Sudden Weakness or Paralysis

Strokes can cause sudden weakness or paralysis, typically on one side of the body. This can include:

  • Limb Weakness: The dog may have difficulty using one or more limbs.

  • Facial Paralysis: One side of the face may droop, or the dog may have difficulty closing an eye or moving its lips.

3. Altered Mental State

A stroke can affect a dog’s cognitive functions and behavior, including:

  • Confusion: The dog may seem disoriented or confused.

  • Lethargy: A noticeable decrease in activity levels or responsiveness.

  • Restlessness: The dog may appear anxious or agitated without an obvious cause.

4. Changes in Vision

Vision changes are another possible sign of stroke. This can include:

  • Blindness: Sudden onset of blindness, particularly if it affects only one eye.

  • Difficulty Tracking: The dog may have trouble following objects with its eyes.

5. Seizures

Seizures can be a sign of a stroke or other neurological issue. Symptoms include:

  • Convulsions: Uncontrolled shaking or twitching of the body.

  • Collapse: The dog may lose consciousness during a seizure.

What to Do if You Suspect a Stroke

Immediate Actions

If you suspect your dog is having a stroke, take the following steps immediately:

  1. Stay Calm: Keep calm to help soothe your dog and make rational decisions.

  2. Limit Movement: Keep your dog as still and comfortable as possible to avoid further injury.

  3. Contact Your Veterinarian: Call your veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital immediately for advice and to inform them that you are on your way.

  4. Monitor Symptoms: Keep track of your dog’s symptoms and any changes that occur.

Veterinary Diagnosis and Treatment

Upon arrival at the veterinary clinic, the veterinarian will likely perform a thorough examination and may use diagnostic tools such as:

  • Neurological Examination: To assess the extent of neurological damage.

  • Imaging Tests: MRI or CT scans to identify the location and type of stroke.

  • Blood Tests: To identify underlying conditions that may have contributed to the stroke.

Treatment Options

Treatment for stroke in dogs depends on the underlying cause and severity. It may include:

  • Medications: To manage symptoms and prevent further strokes. This may include anti-inflammatory drugs, blood thinners, or medications to control blood pressure.

  • Supportive Care: Fluid therapy, nutritional support, and physical therapy to aid in recovery.

  • Surgery: In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to repair damaged blood vessels or remove clots.

Managing Stroke Recovery


Rehabilitation is a crucial part of a dog's recovery from a stroke. This can include:

  • Physical Therapy: Exercises to improve strength, balance, and coordination.

  • Occupational Therapy: Helping the dog adapt to any physical limitations.

  • Nutritional Support: Ensuring a balanced diet to support overall health.

Monitoring and Follow-Up

Regular follow-up visits with the veterinarian are essential to monitor progress and adjust the treatment plan. Early intervention and ongoing care can significantly improve outcomes and quality of life for dogs recovering from a stroke.

Reducing Medication Costs with CareCard

Managing the cost of a dog’s stroke treatment and recovery can be challenging, particularly with long-term medication needs. CareCard prescription discount cards offer a valuable solution for reducing these expenses.

How CareCard Helps

CareCard provides significant discounts on a wide range of prescription medications, including those commonly prescribed for stroke recovery in dogs. Patients can use the CareCard discount card at participating pharmacies to save on their pet’s medications, making it easier to manage the financial burden of ongoing care.

Benefits of Using CareCard

  • Cost Savings: Substantial discounts on medications help reduce out-of-pocket expenses.

  • Accessibility: Accepted at numerous pharmacies across the country, ensuring widespread availability.

  • Convenience: Easy to use with no fees or complex registration processes, allowing pet owners to benefit from savings immediately.

By using CareCard, pet owners can alleviate the financial burden of stroke recovery medications, ensuring that cost does not become a barrier to providing the best possible care for their dogs.


Recognizing the signs of stroke in dogs is critical for seeking timely veterinary care and improving the chances of recovery. Symptoms such as sudden loss of balance, weakness or paralysis, altered mental state, vision changes, and seizures should prompt immediate veterinary attention. With immediate treatment, including medication and rehabilitation, many dogs can recover from a stroke and lead a good quality of life.

Managing the cost of treatment is also a significant concern for pet owners. CareCard prescription discount cards offer a practical solution, providing substantial savings and making stroke recovery medications more accessible. 

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

You will receive a free pharmacy discount card when you subscribe.

By subscribing to the newsletter you agree with our Privacy Policy
Pharmacy names, logos, brands, and other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Prescription savings may vary by prescription and by pharmacy, and in some cases may be discounted up to 85% off cash price*. Please note, this is NOT insurance. CareCard offers you the opportunity to find prescription discount prices, which ultimately depend on the provider. You are fully responsible for paying for all health care services but will be entitled to receive a discount from those health care providers in accordance with the specific pre-negotiated discounted rates. CareCard Inc. is not sponsored by or affiliated with any of the pharmacies identified in its price comparisons. This information is not mean to be a substitute for professional medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. For additional information, please reach our customer support at 1-866-410-1217, Mon- Friday 9am – 5pm Est or email us at hello@carecard.com. By using the CareCard prescription discount card or service, you are agreeing to CareCard’s Terms of Service.

Get the CareCard Mobile App

App Store linkApp Store link
LegitScript approved