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Stroke Symptoms in Horse

| Updated August 11, 2017

A stroke in a horse is referred to as a cerebrovascular accident. This is very similar to a human stroke, as it is most commonly caused by a hemorrhage in the brain. Knowing the symptoms of a horse stroke can save time and possibly your horse's life.

Horse Stroke

A stroke in a horse occurs when blood flow to the brain is ceased or interrupted. This results in a lack of oxygen to the brain, killing off cells that are necessary for normal function. If immediate care is not sought, death is a likely result.

Obvious Signs

The most obvious signs of a stoke in a horse is his inability to stand straight and hold his head up. This head hanging is also referred to as a depressed look to your horse. This loss of balance and inability to stand is the first symptom of a stroke.

Loss of Control

A horse will also suffer a release in bowels. In addition, the horse will appear swollen.

Hidden Signs and Symptoms

A less noticeable stroke symptom is an elevated respiratory and heart rate. This combined with a temperature of higher than 103 degrees F and dehydration are all signs of a stroke.


The recovery time for a horse that has suffered a stroke is quite lengthy, but they should show signs of improvement within two weeks. If not, a veterinarian will most often suggest putting the animal down. While there are drugs to use as treatment, they are not always effective.