Supportive nursing care is the primary treatment for dogs who have recently suffered a stroke. Physical therapy is commonly used after several days of recovery. Sometimes strokes are caused by another condition, such as diabetes mellitus, which must be addressed as a part of recovery.
Supportive care is the most important treatment for a dog who has suffered from a stroke. IV fluids are slowly administered in some cases to rehydrate tissues. The dog is laid in soft absorbent bedding, as involuntary urination or defecation can occur. Care must be taken to keep the dog's head higher than the rest of the body to prevent further bleeding from occurring in the brain. The dog must be moved frequently to prevent bed sores, lung congestion, and urine scalding. After recovery in supportive care, physical therapy can be used and sometimes therapeutic massages are recommended.
Sedatives are commonly administered to prevent disorientation and involuntary muscle contractions. Antiemetics may be used to prevent vomiting and nausea, while anticonvulsants are used to control seizures. Dietary changes are usually unnecessary. Symptoms of stroke normally improve within 72 hours of treatment, beginning with the return of coordination and cessation of vomiting. Many stroke victims return to normal after several weeks, but unfortunately permanent disabilities may result from a stroke.