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High Blood Pressure in Dogs

When we think of our dogs, high blood pressure isn't generally the first thing we think of, but it can be a real concern. Today, our Lisle vets will explain high blood pressure and the signs and symptoms you should recognize.

What is high blood pressure in dogs?

High blood pressure is uncommon in dogs, occurring in only a small percentage of cases. For a dog's blood pressure to be considered high, it must be consistently above the normal range of dog blood pressure, which is above 150 mmHg. It is important to note that an average dog's blood pressure range is quite broad and goes higher than the healthy range for humans. Generally, an average dog's blood pressure will range from 110/60 to 160/90.

What are the potential causes of high blood pressure in dogs?

There are two types of high blood pressure in dogs. Hereditary factors and accounts cause the first for only about 20% of cases. The second type is secondary hypertension, which is caused by an underlying condition and is the most common type in canines. 

Several risk factors for hypertension in dogs include increased age, obesity, underlying diseases like kidney or Cushing's disease, and certain medications. Pet owners should be aware of their dogs' potential for high blood pressure and take them for regular check-ups with their veterinarian to monitor any signs of hypertension or underlying health problems.

Signs & Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure In Dogs

Pet parents easily miss signs of high blood pressure in dogs. Noticing and treating high blood pressure in dogs is even more difficult because they cannot tell if they are feeling sick. That is why it is important to know and to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of high blood pressure so that you can plan with your vet to combat it.

Some of the things to look out for are:

  • Weakness
  • Loss of sight
  • Disorientation
  • Nosebleeds
  • Increase drinking and urinating
  • Blood in  the urine
  • Seizures
  • Heart murmurs
  • Rapid breathing

If your dog displays one or more of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. While these symptoms may not necessarily indicate high blood pressure, they do suggest that your furry friend might be experiencing some underlying health issue that requires attention.

Early detection of secondary hypertension can help diagnose and treat a developing health concern before it becomes severe. Health issues are generally most effectively treated when detected early.

How to Take a Dog's Blood Pressure

While it may seem like taking your dog's blood pressure is as simple as using a human blood pressure cuff, this is unlikely to give you an accurate reading and is not recommended.

Veterinarians take a reading using a specially designed inflatable cuff placed around the dog's leg or tail. Further testing may be required if your vet is concerned about your dog's blood pressure.

Diagnosis of High Blood Pressure in Dogs

A combination of methods, including physical examination, blood pressure measurements, and blood tests, usually detect high blood pressure in dogs. During the physical exam, the vet may look for signs like an increased heart rate, abnormal heart sounds, or swollen blood vessels.

Blood pressure measurements can be taken using a non-invasive technique, such as an inflatable cuff placed around the dog's limb or tail. Additionally, blood tests can be conducted to evaluate any underlying causes of high blood pressure, such as kidney disease or hormonal imbalances.

If your dog is diagnosed with hypertension, it's crucial to identify the underlying cause and begin treatment as soon as possible. Your dog may need ongoing monitoring and treatment to manage their blood pressure.

Treatment For High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure in dogs can be of two types - hereditary and secondary. Treatment for your dog's high blood pressure will depend on the type of high blood pressure your dog suffers.

In the rarer case of hereditary high blood pressure, a change in diet and an increase in exercise can be helpful. If that doesn't lower your dog's blood pressure, your vet may prescribe medication.

For dogs with secondary hypertension, the focus will be on treating the underlying cause of the hypertension. However, medication for hypertension may also be prescribed along with other treatments.

It is worth noting that the first signs of hypertension in dogs are often asymptomatic. If you notice any signs of high blood pressure in your dog, it is important to schedule regular vet visits.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you have concerns about your dog experiencing high blood pressure, please get in touch with our Green Trails Animal Clinic vets today for an appointment.

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