What do you do if your dog has a head injury? Find Out Here

What causes brain injury in dogs?

There are many potential causes of brain injury which include the following:

  • A forceful trauma, such as being hit by a car
  • Prolonged low levels of oxygen in the blood
  • Decreased or lack of blood flow to the brain
  • Severely low levels of sugar in the blood (hypoglycemia)
  • A prolonged seizure or multiple seizures over an extended time period
  • Altered concentrations in the blood of essential minerals, such as sodium
  • Profound or prolonged low blood pressure or high blood pressure
  • Blood clots that travel to the brain
  • Bleeding into the brain from a blood clotting disorder
  • Are there any other treatments that are appropriate for a dog with a brain injury?

    Any dog with a brain injury must receive adequate nutrition to support healing. This may require tube feeding at first if eating is difficult or impossible. Surgery may be necessary if there is a skull fracture, a foreign object penetrating the skull, or build-up of fluid or blood inside the skull.

    Medications may be needed to decrease pressure inside the skull by either helping the body eliminate extra fluid or by helping to pull extra fluid from the tissues of the brain. There may be a need for pain relievers, heavy sedation, or even a temporary state of general anesthesia to spare the brain from additional injury. Adequate levels of oxygen must be provided, so a tube may be passed into the windpipe to assist breathing. If the dog’s blood sugar levels are too low, intravenous glucose may be needed. Alternately, if the dog’s blood sugar level is too high, intravenous insulin may be needed.

    What is a brain injury?

    Brain injuries are devastating and, unfortunately, often fatal. There are both primary brain injuries that are the result of a direct insult to the brain, and secondary brain injuries that occur following the primary brain injury. Secondary brain injuries may include bleeding from a brain blood vessel or swelling of brain tissue.

    Dog Head Injuries – How to Help

    Can dogs get concussions? Yes. Concussions in dogs are similar to concussions in humans, but because dogs cant speak to us in our language, they cant tell us how theyre feeling and we have to decipher their symptoms to know how to care for them. This post will tell you the common causes of dog concussions, dog concussion symptoms, and how to give them proper treatment.

    A canine concussion is much like a human concussion. It is a traumatic brain injury, meaning the brain is the focal point of the head injury, as opposed to a dog skull fracture. Both can certainly occur at the same time, but the dog doesnt have to have one to have the other.

    Concussions can occur because the brain was jostled inside the skull from a direct hit to the head or from an impact that jarred the brain. An example of the latter may be where one dog ran into another dogs body. The head was not directly hit, but the impact was so great it caused the brain to move with too great a force inside the skull and caused a concussion.

    If the brain is damaged on both sides, where it was originally hit and where it bounced against the opposite side of the skull, this is called a Coup-Contrecoup.

    There are also contusions where the brain took the direct impact of a blow rather than damage occurring from movement, and a Diffuse Axonal injury caused by a shaking or rotating motion like shaken baby syndrome.

    It is possible to have a combination of these injuries, depending on the accident or abuse the dog suffered.

    The first type, caused by impact to the head or body, is the most common traumatic brain injury and concussion.

    Dogs are not as likely to suffer head injuries as humans are, because most of them have thick skulls, but this also makes realizing how hurt our dog is less intuitive. We think they look fine on the outside, no visible head injury, and may not realize their brain was damaged.

    Concussions are more likely to cause temporary or permanent brain damage than to kill the dog, but death is a risk. The dog is likely to hurt themselves again and probably even worse, they may suffer internal bleeding, or they may go into shock.