Dogs can experience a stroke when blood flow to the brain becomes restricted. A dog experiencing a stroke may lose his balance, become blind, turn his head in the opposite direction when called or lose the ability to control his bowels, among other symptoms. The good news is dogs generally recover within a few weeks with care and close supervision. In certain cases, aspirin, when prescribed by the veterinarian, can prevent certain kinds of strokes from reoccurring as well as alleviate symptoms of a stroke faster.
How Aspirin Works to Prevent Strokes
Aspirin offers dogs the same pain-relieving qualities as it does humans. It’s an anti-inflammatory drug that lessons swelling and promotes healing. As an anti-coagulant, aspirin also thins the blood and prevents it from clotting. These properties together help treat a dog that is in the midst of a stroke, as well as averting the blood from clotting and another stroke occurring.
Aspirin Treatment for Ischemic Stokes
Ischemic and hemorrhagic stokes are two common types of strokes caused when blood flow is compromised. Ischemic strokes occur when an artery becomes blocked and restricts blood flow to the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes happen when the brain bleeds. While aspirin can provide relief to dogs experiencing an ischemic stroke, aspirin can be deadly for dogs having a hemorrhagic stroke. Since aspirin thins the blood, aspirin can make a hemorrhagic stroke worse as the brain bleeds more. For this reason, its best not to give a dog having a stroke aspirin unless a veterinarian confirms the dog is having an ischemic stroke, not a hemorrhagic one.
Aspirin Treatment for Heat Strokes
Heat stoke is another type of stroke that’s not caused by restricted blood flow but by a sudden, rapid increase in the dog’s body temperature. Dogs left in a hot car without proper ventilation are prone to heat stroke. One side effect of heat stroke is that blood clots can form in the dog’s intestines and cause the intestines to become inflamed. Buffered or coated aspirin can help relieve these symptoms, along with other measures to lower the dog’s body temperature.
Some veterinarians may recommend dogs that have suffered a stroke be given a low dose buffered aspirin daily to keep the dog’s blood from clotting.
Aspirin can be a source of irritation to the dog’s intestinal tract, especially when given on a regular basis and without food in the stomach. For this reason, dog owners should give their dog aspirin under the advice of a veterinarian who can prescribe the right dosage amount and duration.