View Full Version : Stroke

Cara's Mum
12th April 2007, 09:11 AM

I have never posted here but admit to being a long time lurker!

We are in trouble and I am just wondering has anyone else's Cav had a doggy stroke?

Cara is an 8 year old Ruby Cav who we adopted 4 years ago. She has always been overweight and over the past 6 months or so developed a kidney problem.

This morning at 7am she had what appears to be a stroke. She was flaying around on the floor... her eyes rolling/twitching..... her paws rigid... her body lying over to one side and she was and is still unable to stand. We rang the vet and got her down to him straight away.

He has kept her in and has sedated her for the morning to help ease her pain/discomfort. He is waiting to see how she will be in a few hours before any decisions have to be made. We are devasted as you can imagine.

I am just wondering have any of your Cavs ever had strokes and if so have they made a good/partial recovery or is this the end of the road for our beloved pet?

Thanks a million...

12th April 2007, 09:18 AM
Hi Cara's mom

I am so sorry to hear you and your dog have had to go through such a distressing episode. Has the vet positively diagnosed stroke, or are you still awaiting a diagnosis?

What you described sounds exactly like my Scarlett's grand-mal seizures. It is kind of like when humans have epileptic fits. This is different to a stroke, though both do affect the brain.

Let us know ok?

Cara's Mum
12th April 2007, 09:28 AM
The vet said he was pretty sure it was a stroke. We thought it might have been a seizure also but in his experience he said he didnt think so.

My head is all over the place at the moment... we are supposed to be going away on holidays this Saturday (with Cara). If she survives this we cant bring her with us now as the journey is too long.... and if we cancel the holiday we lose our money. It's all a mess.

I am trying to figure out how to post a picture of her here... but the brain cells arent working too well right now.

12th April 2007, 09:55 AM
I'm so sorry to hear that Cara is not well :(

It sounds similar to what happened our Cassie. Our vet said that dogs do not have strokes (not in the same way that humans do anyway). Cassie had a few of these episodes where she could not stand and was disorientated. She recovered well enough for a while but unfortunately her heart failed (we think her heart was weakened as a result of the episodes) and she passed away last summer. Cassie was 14 yrs old so maybe the fact that Cara as age on her side may help.

I know it's a very troubling time when your dog is so sick and it is scary when they have these episodes so I really hope that everything turns out OK for you :flwr:

12th April 2007, 11:34 AM
The vet said he was pretty sure it was a stroke. We thought it might have been a seizure also but in his experience he said he didnt think so.

I just did a Google and it seems strokes are quite rare in dogs, but they do occur. It also seemed that they are usually not as debilitating as they can be in humans. I don't know any of this first hand, just some stuff I read ok.

My head is all over the place at the moment... we are supposed to be going away on holidays this Saturday (with Cara). If she survives this we cant bring her with us now as the journey is too long.... and if we cancel the holiday we lose our money. It's all a mess.

Oh boy! You poor things. It is bad enough when our babies get really sick but when it collides with another major even it is a nightmare. My heart really goes out to you.

Have you had an update on Cara yet? Have the vets been able to get her up & standing or is she still very heavily sedated.

Keep us posted with progress. :hug:

Cara's Mum
12th April 2007, 11:56 AM
Thanks Caraline and Casshon

No word yet from the vets... I am jumping every time the phone rings. Hubby had to go to work and I here with the baby trying to keep busy.

Yes.. our vet did mention that "stroke" was a general word he was using as dogs dont really get strokes in the same way as humans do. The symptoms and end results are pretty similar though. I presume Cara is still sedated as he said he would keep her asleep for the morning.

I miss her so much around the house this morning. Waiting to see what happens before we decide about the holiday. We have no one to mind her for us and I dont know of any doggy convalescent homes! This is all presuming she makes it of course.

Thanks a million for the support.

Barbara Nixon
12th April 2007, 11:58 AM
My neighbours dog, Honey, a golden cocker had a couple of strokes, late in life. She seemed to recover quite well, though she never was the lively type. Merv's present cocker is the same. I think it's the way he is with the; laid back.

12th April 2007, 02:07 PM
She will need some tlc when she comes home. For a few days afterwards Cassie was very weak and was very unsteady on her feet. She needed help to get outside as she would occasionally fall over or not be able to get her legs under her. She did recover well and was back to herself quite soon considering her age and what she had been through.

:xfngr: Fingers crossed everything will be OK.

12th April 2007, 02:39 PM
Oh my gosh!! That must have been so scary for you both! I don't have any advice to give, but I will offer my prayers and good thoughts...I really hope Cara pulls through :( Please keep us posted if you get any word.

Cara's Mum
12th April 2007, 02:55 PM
Well after a morning of pacing the floor and googling for more information the vet just phoned.

Cara has woken up and seems an awful lot better. She managed to stand up and take a few wobbly steps... and she managed to eat a handful of food - (having said that if she was on her last legs and someone offered her food she would snaffle it up!!!)

The vet is going to run some tests on her so we should know more tonight or tomorrow. He said if she keeps on improving at the rate she is we should have her home tomorrow and might be able to take her away with us (we are going in the car and we have taken a house) - she would be much happier with us obviously.

He cant guarantee it wont happen again though.... and what the outcome of another episode might be.

We are just so glad that so far she is on the right road.... and are keeping everything crossed that she makes a full and speedy recovery and is back to herself in no time.

I was dying to go and see her but the vet said to leave her rest for today. She is settled with him for now and seeing me might only leave her unsettled again.

Thanks a million for all your good wishes and advise..... now I have to figure how to get her picture up as my avator!!!

12th April 2007, 03:05 PM
I;m really glad Cara has recovered and is doing so much better.

If you'd like you can PM me your vet's name... some of them I know of and some know cavaliers and their health issues better than others.

I do not know if kidney problems could cause seizures but this is one thing you will want to investigate.

Also you will really, really want to get that weight down -- it is a serious health risk for the breed overall as it puts a massive extra strain on their hearts. I can give you some advice on this as well as I've taken weight off rescue cavaliers before. Vets simply do not stress this enough in this country IMHO especilly when it comes to cavaliers who are almost all going to have heart problems eventually, so a svelte cavalier is top of the healthy agenda.

Then: Ihope your vet will be checking for epilepsy and diabetes (the latter especially if the dog has gotten fat) as both would cause seizures. In addition there are two breed specific health issues which could cause seizures: episodic falling syndrome and syringomyelia. Your vet needs to be aware of both of these possibilities as they may influence how the dog is treated.

Info on SM at www.sm.cavaliertalk.com; info on EFS: www.episodicfalling.com

I really hope you'll all be off on a happy holiday by next week! :) I'm so glad things are looking so much better.

Cara's Mum
12th April 2007, 03:08 PM
This is her!


12th April 2007, 03:11 PM
Cara is a cutie! I hope she is feeling better real soon.

12th April 2007, 03:13 PM
I'm so glad she's doing better, I have been thinking of her all day. :flwr:

Cara's Mum
12th April 2007, 03:14 PM
Thanks Karlin

We are very happy with our vet - he has a Cav himself! He is running bloodtests today to check out further any underlying issues that may be there.

We had Cara's weight under control until recently (when we got her 4 years ago she was 16Kgs!!!!! :shock: ) and was in very bad health. We got her weight down to 11Kgs and had her on vet recommended food for obesity. She developed protein in her urine a few months ago and as the obesity food was high in protein we had to change it. We are on a fine balancing line at the moment between managing her protein levels and keeping her weight down.

Thanks a million for those websites also.... I am going to have a look at them now. :flwr:

Cara's Mum
12th April 2007, 03:15 PM
Thanks Lenee and Casshon :thnx:

12th April 2007, 04:30 PM
I am so glad she is doing better!! You have been in my thoughts all morning! :D :D

She is a lovely baby and looks so happy in that picture, but tubby doesn't even begin to describe her!! I agree with Karlin, getting her weight down should be a top priority in order to bring her back to full health. If you don't mind my asking, what and how much are you feeding her?
Sweet baby, I just want to snuggle her!!:luv:

12th April 2007, 05:12 PM
Sorry to hear about Cara - I'm glad she's on the mend. She looks lovely.

A similar thing happened to my Charlie a couple of years ago, I think. Like your vet, the vet said it was similar to a stroke, but it's a bit different from the strokes we get. I think she called it 'old dog vestibular syndrome'. It sounds quite similar to what Cara experienced - Charlie went all wobbly for a bit and couldn't stand up, and his eyes were flickering.

The good news is that Charlie recovered pretty quickly, and there hasn't been another incident since. I really hope Cara will be lucky too.

Pepsi x

12th April 2007, 07:15 PM

I'd try to just feed less rather than feed obesity foods. Obesity diets are lots of filler -- and filler is often stuff a dog doesn't need. I have never heard though of obesity diets being higher in protein -- usually they are lower! Was she still gaining wieght on the lite food? Given her size from your pic, I'd agree that getting her weight down is no casual matter -- this is really urgent and her weight alone is going to be putting serious pressure on her kidneys much less her heart at her age. I'd start feeding HALF what you are giving now. How much do you give now?

Vets here also don't get a lot of background in proper nutrition -- they tend to push the diet foods they sell through their surgeries. :-|

A good quality normal food in smaller quantities tends to do the job, is a lot healthier for the dog (especially if the food you are using is Hill's -- this is generally very poorly rated in evlautations because it is so high in filler, ingredients like corn and wheat gluten which many dogs are allergic to, and full of presercvatives and additives. Plus it is very expensive for a mediocre quality food -- a really top notch food like Burns, James Wellbeloved, or Royal Canin 27, is generally less per bag. If the diet food is one of Royal Canin's or Burns' brands, that's a better option than Hill's, but still, just feeding less and adding if necessary, your own low cal filler like few raw carrots pieces or frozen green beans or a bit of fruit (banana, apple, pear slices) gives roughage. As does a bit of wheetabix crumbled into the regular food -- very filling, good roughage, no additives. And cut out treats or switch to bits of fruit or veg. :)

I highly recommend this breeder's guide to feeding and getting cavaliers thin:


Cara's Mum
12th April 2007, 07:56 PM
Well the vet just phoned and said that Cara has made a "miraculous recovery"!!! :) She is up and about, walking and eating well. He is astonished at her resiliance and at how fast she is back on her feet. We can have her back home tomorrow morning! :dogwlk:

He ran several tests - she doesnt have diabetes, nor does she have epilepsy thank God. Her kidneys are back functioning well (which is amazing). The main issues are high cholestoral and high liver enzymes... which can both be linked to obesity. He is running a thyroid test also but we wont have the results of these til next week.

Karlin the food she has been on since we got her is Royal Canin Walthams Obesity. Our vet changed her to Royal Canin Sensitivity when she started to have kidney toubles. She used to get 2 handfuls of food each evening... but she needed Propalin drops for slight incontinence twice a day so we split her main meal into 1 handful at lunchtime and 1 in the evening. I have always given her carrots/apple/banana for a treat and she would get one doggy biscuit a day (Biscrok or something).

The one indulgence we allowed her was an occasional pigs ear or rawhide strip.

Having said that since our baby has become a toddler there is a lot more food finding its way to the floor from the highchair which Cara instantly snaffles up. She has always had the run of the house and she barks and howls and cries if I lock her out of the kitchen. I have a portable stairgate which I am now thinking I should try instead of closing the door on her... at least that way she can still see us and feel she is included.

Anyhow.... thank you all so much for your thoughts and your support today. You made a newbie feel very welcome. :thnku: I will let you know tomorrow how things go.

13th April 2007, 02:05 AM
I am so delighted to hear that Cara has made such a wonderful recovery. I wouldn't bother with feeding diet foods either, not even the premium ones like RC. Even the best of them just use rubbish as filler. Instead, just feed normal kibble (if this is what you normally do) but grate up some vegetables and/or fruit & mix in with it. My guys just love grated carrot & grated apples in their dinner.

Anway that is greats news. I hope your holiday goes smoothly & you all enjoy yourselves. At least it sounds like you will have her with you. :xfngr:

13th April 2007, 02:57 AM
I am so happy for you and Cara that she had such a remarkable recovery. Couldn't ask for a better ending than that :thmbsup:.

13th April 2007, 04:25 AM

haven't gotten around to resizing my avatar but at least i can send in a message. one thing i thought of when i was reading your message, particularly with the quick turnaround, was vestibular syndrome. you can google this for more information but here's one site that had information on it.


it used to be called "old dog syndrome". one of my guys had a bout with it a year or so before he died (death was not related in any way to his vestibular problem). he recovered just fine. i rushed him to the vet and he happened to see someone who was quite familiar with it.

not sure if this really helps but you might mention it to the vet.


Barbara Nixon
13th April 2007, 11:48 AM
I'm so pleased that your little girl is better.

Teddy was put on Royal Canin Hypersensitive, as an allergy trial and because it is expensive, I cut the amount he got. Within six weeks he is slim with a real waist, so it's Joly's turn now. I only gave about three quarters of the recommended amount and fed it in a treat ball so it lasted longer.

Cara's Mum
13th April 2007, 01:00 PM
Well Cara is home... safe and well and none the worse for her ordeal! :D She was delighted to see me and thrilled to get home again. She also has been deemed fit to travel which is great news.

The vet diagnosed it as Vestibular Syndrome (you were spot-on Toblerone :thmbsup: ). There is no telling if she will have another episode and when... but he is delighted with her progress so far.

We are cutting her food intake once again... and will continue with the healthy fruit/veg snacks. Please God we will win the weight battle again.

Thanks once again for al of your support.

13th April 2007, 01:58 PM
so happy that cara is doing better!

13th April 2007, 03:55 PM
Glad to hear that she is on the mend - I know what a relief that is.

Veterinarians often use the terms "stroke" or "heart attack" because that is the closest definition for clients to understand. I was taught that the dog doesn't actually suffer these incidents the same way that humans do. But that's insignificant now - the good thing is that she's rallying around!

Good luck - hope she gets to take her vacation!

13th April 2007, 04:06 PM
glad to hear this was all it was. i remember being quite disturbed by how toby looked when it happened to him. he looked like i would have thought a dog looked if he were having a stroke. he did have two more episodes like this but they were very mild compared to the first one. the key symptom (besides the falling, etc.) was that his eyes were darting back and forth.

within a few days he was back to his old self but we were careful on walks for a couple of weeks.

anyway, i'm glad for all of you.


Cara's Mum
14th June 2007, 02:55 PM
Hi all...

I just wanted to post an update to this as you were all so good to help and advise me.

Our beautiful Cara passed away suddenly last week. She had another (minor) vestibular episode and she passed away at home in my husband and my arms.

She had been in brilliant form since I posted this thread originally... she made a full recovery.

We were once again regaining control of her weight - she had lost almost a kg with the help of diet/exercise. The vet also ran some tests and discovered she had an underactive thyriod gland which was attributing to her excess weight.

We miss her dreadfully... it was all so sudden and unexpected. She was only 7.

We will in time get another Cav... the house is just so empty without her.

Thanks once again for your time.

Cathy T
14th June 2007, 03:14 PM
I'm so sorry for your loss but what a blessed way to go...in the arms of those who loved her most.

14th June 2007, 03:19 PM
I am so sorry for your loss. Cara is at the bridge now, with all our other little angels. You are in my thoughts and prayers. *ng*l

14th June 2007, 03:24 PM
Oh my god I am so sorry, you must be devistated, my thoughts are with you :( I only read your thread now from the beginning, I didnt see it before, I am terribly sorry for your loss

Barbara Nixon
14th June 2007, 04:03 PM
I'm so sorry. Just when things were looking up.

You will have another dog, in time, He or she will never replace cara, but will be loved in his/her own right.Meanwhile, don't go away. Stay in touch.

14th June 2007, 04:07 PM
I am so sorry for ur loss, u will be in my throughts at this sad time!!

14th June 2007, 04:39 PM
I feel so sad for you and am so sorry for your loss.

Cara's Mum
14th June 2007, 05:02 PM
Thanks a million. :thnx:

We will definitely get another Cavalier.... its just a question of when.

I am leaning more towards sooner rather than later.... but my husband cant even begin to think about it. Our little son (20 months) adored Cara and is lost without her. For him alone I would love to have another dog in the house. Our little boy wanders around the house calling her "Rara, Rara..." and it breaks my heart. I was showing him photos of her the other day and his face broke into a wide smile and he kissed the pictures! :l*v: It almost broke my heart.

We have decided this time to get a puppy rather than an older dog again.

No dog will replace Cara but our house is empty without her.

Thanks once again for your good wishes.

Cleo's Person
14th June 2007, 05:15 PM
Cara's Mum, I've just read this entire post for the first time today. I am so sorry that you've lost Cara. she was clearly a special dog. Sending good thoughts your way. :flwr:

14th June 2007, 07:15 PM
I should not read these posts at the office as people come in and I have to either hid or explain the tears in my eyes. So sorry for your premature loss of Cara. I am sure she will be waiting for you at the Bridge, slim and healthy and so happy to see you. I always think that the dogs whom we have loved and have had special places in our lives open the door for the dogs that come after them. I am sure Cara will open the door for a new canine friend when the time is right.

Because you have a very young child you may want to reconsider whether to get a young puppy or an little bit older dog. Sometimes it is easier to get at least an older puppy, close to an year old, then to bring an eight to twelve week old puppy into the house of a toddler.

Best of luck to you and condolences on your loss of Cara!

14th June 2007, 09:02 PM
Im so sorry your little girl passed away. It took me a long time to get over the loss of my cocker spaniel but it does get easier.

Sending you a big :hug:

14th June 2007, 09:43 PM
Hello, I too have been reading this thread through from the start for the first time today. I am very saddened by your sudden loss of Cara, but the one thing that shines through is how very much you all loved your Cara :lotsaluv: The very fact that you feel the need for another dog shows what a crucial part of your family she was, no dog will ever "replace" her, that would be impossible, they have their own identities and little querks, but in time another "special" one will enter your life!!

Thinking of you at this time!! :hug:

Cathy Moon
15th June 2007, 02:55 AM
I'm so sorry for your loss of precious Cara. My eyes teared up when I read about your little boy kissing her photo. :hug::hug::hug: Hugs to you and your family.

15th June 2007, 06:51 PM
Oh goodness, I just read this whole post for the first time also...I am so sorry for your loss, I know how hard that must be. Hopefully Cara is running at the rainbow bridge, enjoying open fields and caring friends:(

15th June 2007, 08:06 PM
I, too, am shocked at Cara's passing; my greatest sympathies. It sounds like she had a great life with a loving family, which I'm sure made her last days the best any dog could have.

16th June 2007, 05:20 PM
Oh, poor little Cara :( . I'm so sorry she passed on. It sounds like you all are really missing her terribly.

No dog will every replace Cara but I'm sure you all will have room in your hearts for another dog in the future.

:flwr: :flwr:

Cara's Mum
16th June 2007, 05:42 PM
Thanks a million for all your messages and good wishes.... it helps being with people who understand!

My husband has seen first hand how much our little boy is missing his playmate and has agreed to think about getting another dog in the near future.

We do want to get a puppy as when we adopted Cara she was 4, wasnt very well trained and had some very bad habits. Some habits we managed to change but some we couldnt... in her case it was a case of you cant teach an old dog new tricks. We would like to start from scratch this time with a puppy... and see our little boy and the puppy grow up together.

I also dont want to go through the heartache of taking in another dog with health issues only to see her die after 4 years with her when we could have had so much more time with her.

Thanks once again.

19th June 2007, 01:56 AM
I'm so sorry to hear about Cara's death. I've been away for a few days and just saw your note. I had been so pleased to hear that her earlier problem was a vestibular problem and not something more serious and I knew that you were going to work on her weight issues.

You won't ever replace her but I know that it helped us a great deal to have a little puppy within a few months after our Toby died.

I'll be thinking of you and your family in the days ahead.


19th June 2007, 04:03 AM
I had a mini dachshund when I was growing up that I'm pretty sure had a stroke the night before she passed. She was almost 17 years old, so she had lived a long and happy life. Her back legs suddenly wouldn't work and she seemed unable to focus on us talking to her or anything. She didn't appear in pain, and we knew she was near the end, so we let her die in peace at home with her family. Until then, though, I had never thought that dogs could have strokes.

19th June 2007, 04:06 AM
I'm also very sorry to hear of Cara's passing. I accidentally hit the reply button without finishing my post. Please know that Ruby and I are thinking of you during this sad time!!

20th June 2007, 12:23 AM
Oh I am so sorry about you lovely Cara, after my last dog died, I did get another puppy about a month later, and while I could never ever replace the one I lost....it really helped ease the loss and pain I felt.

20th June 2007, 01:10 AM
I am so sorry to hear that little Cara lost her battle. It sounds as though she went easily & without fear so that is a small blessing. :flwr: