Dog’s Collapse Could Be Mini-Stroke

When artery is blocked only briefly, dog will show stroke symptoms.

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Q. This morning when our 12-year-old Miniature Pinscher got up to go outside, he collapsed on his side. He tried getting up and fell over again. Then he walked out the door, but did not want to go down the steps to relieve himself. He came back and lay on his bed. About 45 minutes later, he was his old self. Could this be a sign of a stroke? Or is it something that just happened by chance?

A. It sounds like your Min Pin had a stroke-like episode. Strokes are rarely diagnosed in dogs because it is so difficult to do so. Usually an MRI is required to confirm the presence of a blockage in an artery going to the brain. However, as more MRIs are done on dogs, more strokes are being diagnosed.
 
A stroke occurs when there is a blockage in an artery that flows to the brain, briefly depriving the brain of oxygen. In a mini-stroke, it can be very short-term, and a dog will recover fully, as it sounds like your dog has.
 
Another possibility is that he had a brief seizure, which also would only last a short time before he returned to normal. Features of seizures include loss of coordination and awareness, paddling with the legs, and possibly biting and drooling. Often, there is a loss of bowel and bladder control.
 
Heart problems can also cause an episode of collapse, known as syncope. A syncopal episode is similar to fainting in humans, where there is not enough oxygen being pumped to the brain.
 
If your dog is fully recovered, you should start a diary or log that describes any similar events in the future, so your veterinarian has an accurate history. Even better, have him checked out by your veterinarian to make sure there is no obvious problem, such as an imbalance in his blood.
 
Treatment for episodes of collapse entirely depend on the underlying diagnosis, so it is important to carefully monitor your Min Pin for any future problems, and hopefully get him into your veterinarian for a physical exam and blood-screening tests.


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Elaine   Glen Cove, New York

6/23/2015 5:54:46 AM

Our old Min Pin use to do this occasionally. Now our new one did the same exact thing.(Our new one is NOT a puppy, he is 8.) I'm thinking it's a trait among them. This morning he was trying to stand up. Front legs were fine. Back legs were splayed out and although he was trying to stand up, his back legs would not move. But his front legs remained strong the whole time. I picked him up and just held him and reassured him. I thought he was going into an asthma attack (another trait I believe this breed carries...) as he was having a hard time catching his breath, but it subsided. Several minutes later he was able to stand on his own, although wobbly... He proceeded to get up and vomit whatever he had eaten this morning. After that, he was back to normal...but a bit weak.

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charlytuna   Chevy Chase, DC

1/4/2015 9:35:16 AM

I could have written this question myself, word for word with a few additions. Same breed, same age, same symptoms. He began retching so I ran him to the back door and let him out. He vomited yellow liquid, and when he went to straighten up he fell over backwards. Tried to get up and fell over again. Third attempt he got up and looked a bit wobbly but walked off and peed as usually. Came back inside and seems a bit shaken but ate a treat. He was shaking his head and also has been kind of grinding his teeth every now and then which he hasn't done before. I wonder if it is a common occurrence in min
pins?

Original question: Q. This morning when our 12-year-old Miniature Pinscher got up to go outside, he collapsed on his side. He tried getting up and fell over again. Then he walked out the door, but did not want to go down the steps to relieve himself. He came back and lay on his bed. About 45 minutes later, he was his old self. Could this be a sign of a stroke? Or is it something that just happened by chance?

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Alex   Fort Lauderdale, Florida

9/21/2014 8:43:24 PM

My dog service dog Snoopy may have had a stroke. in the morning he vomited an empty stomach and 12 hours later He came to me asking to massage his right rear leg and when I was doing this he collapsed and lots of drooling and could not stand up and was briefly rigid straight legs. It was terrifying and I rushed him to the pet ER where he spent 3 day in ICU. When I took him home his rear legs were somewhat uncoordinated. 1 week later his walk is 95 % and his personality is 100% back and his service dog training is intact. I've been giving him 1600 mg fish oil every day since. If it was a stroke it is an amazing fast recovery. Still waiting for him to run, don't know if it's possible with the rear legs. Is this a manifestation of a stroke in dogs? We didn't do the CT scan for $1500 as i was advised that the treatment would be the same whether we knew or not, which was to rest and wait and see and lots of fluids.

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wendy   london, International

7/25/2014 5:04:28 PM

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