Volume 3 Issue 2

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Page 31 of 47

Have Stroke s and Heart Attacks? Do Dog s and Cats Vascular accidents are the 3rd most common cause of death in people, but they are rare in dogs and cats. What we know for sure is that lifestyle factors (like in people) are the primary contribu ng cause of these diseases in pets. Though pets are not directly consuming alcohol and smoking, they are ge ng second hand smoke. Pets ea ng processed foods (diets high in carbohydrates like kibble and processed can foods), foods containing chemicals, GMO, and synthe c ingredients, along with being in constant contact with chemicals and pes cides from their environment (toxic household cleaners, xenoestrogens in detergents and household products and lawn sprays) are at a much higher risk for ge ng the underlying diseases that lead to not only strokes and heart a acks, but all inflammatory diseases including arthri s and cancer. There are two types of strokes that occur in dogs: Ischemic and Hemorrhagic Strokes. Ischemic strokes occur when the blood supply to the brain is compromised, and the brain becomes deprived of oxygen, glucose and other essen al nutrients. Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel inside the brain bursts, causing intracranial bleeding. Causes for strokes may include blood clots lodging in inappropriate places, small blood vessels in the brain that bleed, a tumor in a blood vessel interfering with circula on, a blood vessel spasm restric ng blood flow or any other cause of inflamma on that impedes blood flow. Signs of stroke will vary with the area of the brain that is affected. Signs may include changes in mental func on, trouble walking, weakness, head lt, seizures, circling, rapid eye movement (nystagmus) or head and neck pain. Certain diseases are considered risk factors that may predispose dogs and cats to having a stroke. These include: Cushings disease Chronic kidney failure Heartworm disease Phenylpropanolamine (a drug used to control urine incon nence) Thyroid disease Diabetes Heart disease Age, breed and the pet's sex do not seem to have an impact on suscep bility. The only way to accurately diagnose a stroke in pets is through brain imaging scans. These include computed tomography (CT/CAT scan) and magne c resonance imaging (MRI). Imaging allows for differen a on between the two types of strokes. Though the treatment protocol depends on which type of stroke has occurred, the goals of therapy are to minimize brain swelling and ssue damage while maximizing oxygen delivery to the brain. In addi on, any iden fiable causes of the stroke are dealt with while the pa ent receives support and rehabilita on. Page 32| Abby's Magazine -

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