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Stupor and Coma in Dogs



This is a health emergency and you will need to immediately take your dog to a veterinary hospital. The major goal of emergency treatment is to save the life of the patient, and will be started as quickly as possible. Along with the emergency treatment, efforts will be made to diagnose the underlying cause in order to treat it. Oxygen supplementation will be started as soon as the dog is received at the hospital in a condition of stupor or coma.


If there is excessive fluid loss, small amounts of intravenous fluids will be given to counter the fluid deficits. Large amount of fluids are usually avoided as this practice can cause further brain swelling in patients suffering from brain edema (swelling).


In case of head injuries, the dog's head will be kept elevated on a level above the rest of the body to avoid further swelling of the brain. If seizures are also a problem, medications will be given to control the seizures because these can also lead to further swelling of the brain. To help overcome the brain swelling, drugs can be given to promote urination in order to remove the fluid accumulated within brain. In serious head injuries or in cases with serious brain swelling, surgery is usually required to remove the fluid from the brain to reduce the swelling in order to save the life of the patient. In cases of infection, antibiotics can be given to control the symptoms related to the infection and to eliminate it from the body.


Living and Management


Stupor and coma are emergencies needing intensive hospital care and treatment. The overall prognosis will depend largely on the treatment of the underlying disease or condition. Special attention will need to be paid to nutrition since these patients are not able to eat, especially during the time when they are partially or fully unconscious. Even after regaining consciousness, your dog will need to be monitored closely for future episodes of similar symptoms.


At home, proper rest and isolation should be provided to your dog until it has fully recovered. You will need to set up a place in the house where your dog can rest comfortably and quietly, away from other pets, active children, and busy entryways. To make the recovery period easier for your dog, place the feeding dishes close to where the dog is resting so that it does not need to make a lot of effort. Trips outdoors for bladder and bowel relief should be kept short and easy for your dog to handle during the recovery period. While you will want to give your dog as much peace as possible, you will need to check in frequently, observing its breathing pattern and rate.


Medications and nutrition need to be given on time, as scheduled. If your dog is too weak to eat a sufficient amount of food on its own, you will need to assist it in eating, either with a feeding syringe or tube. Your veterinarian will advise you on the method and how to go about doing it.


If you see any untoward symptoms, immediately consult your veterinarian.



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