Did you know that dogs, like people, can suffer from high blood pressure? In fact, some breeds have a genetically increased risk of developing hypertension. Here, our Oklahoma City vets discuss high blood pressure and the signs/symptoms you should recognize.
High Blood Pressure In Dogs
Only a small percentage of dogs have high blood pressure, which is uncommon. A dog's blood pressure must consistently be higher than the standard for dogs (above 150mmHg) to be considered high.
A normal dog's blood pressure range is quite wide and goes higher than the healthy range for humans. A normal dog's blood pressure will range anywhere from 110/60 to 160/90.
Two Main Causes of High Blood Pressure in Dogs
The first is high blood pressure caused by hereditary factors. This makes up only about 20% of cases of high blood pressure in dogs.
Secondary hypertension is the name given to the second kind. The underlying condition that is causing this high blood pressure. Secondary hypertension is the most common type in canines. Understanding the symptoms and signs of canine hypertension is crucial for this reason.
Increased age, obesity, underlying diseases such as kidney disease or Cushing's disease, and certain medications can all be risk factors for hypertension in dogs. Pet owners must be aware of the risk of high blood pressure in their dogs and take them to their veterinarian on a regular basis to monitor for any signs of hypertension or underlying health issues.
Dog Breeds More Prone to High Blood Pressure
Some dog breeds may be more prone to hypertension than others. Because of its predisposition to heart disease, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, for example, has a high incidence of chronic hypertension.
Other breeds that may be at increased risk for high blood pressure include Dachshunds, Miniature Schnauzers, Boxers, and Shih Tzus.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure in Dogs
Pet owners frequently ignore signs of high blood pressure in their dogs. The fact that dogs have no way of telling us if they are sick makes detecting and treating high blood pressure in them more difficult. That is why it is critical to understand and recognize high blood pressure symptoms so that you can collaborate with your veterinarian to develop a treatment plan.
Some of the things to look out for are:
- Loss of sight
- Heart murmurs
- Enlarged kidneys
- Rapid breathing
If your dog is showing one or more of the symptoms above it's time to book an appointment with your veterinarian. While these symptoms aren't always a result of high blood pressure they do indicate that your pup is likely suffering from an underlying health problem that should be addressed.
In cases of secondary hypertension, early detection could help lead to the diagnosis and treatment of a developing health concern before it becomes severe. In most cases, health issues are most effectively treated when caught 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.
To take a reading, veterinarians wrap an inflatable cuff around the dog's leg or tail. If your veterinarian is worried about your dog's blood pressure, additional testing may be necessary.
Diagnosis of High Blood Pressure in Dogs
Physical examination, blood pressure readings, and blood tests are all commonly used to diagnose high blood pressure in dogs. During a physical examination, your dog's veterinarian may look for symptoms such as an elevated heart rate, unusual 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. Blood tests can also be performed to evaluate underlying causes of high blood pressure, such as kidney disease or hormonal imbalances.
If your dog is diagnosed with hypertension, the underlying cause should be identified and treated as soon as possible. Your dog may require ongoing monitoring and treatment in order to manage their blood pressure.
Treatment For High Blood Pressure
Treatment for your dog's high blood pressure will depend on the type of high blood pressure your dog suffers from.
A change in diet and more daily exercise can be used to treat dogs with hereditary high blood pressure, the rarer of the two conditions. Your veterinarian might recommend medication if that doesn't bring down your dog's blood pressure.
Secondary hypertension in dogs will most likely be treated for the cause of the hypertension rather than the hypertension itself. However, your veterinarian may prescribe hypertension medication in addition to other treatments.
Often, the first signs of hypertension wind up being asymptomatic, so you must schedule regular vet visits if you notice any signs of high blood pressure in your dog.
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.