When we think about our dogs, we usually don't consider high blood pressure a top concern. However, it can be something important to be aware of. Today, our veterinarians at Ferguson Animal Hospital will help you understand high blood pressure in dogs and the signs you should watch out for.
High Blood Pressure in Dogs
High blood pressure rarely occurs in dogs, affecting only a small number of them. To be considered high, a dog's blood pressure should stay consistently above the typical range for dogs, which is higher than what's considered healthy for humans.
A dog's regular blood pressure can vary from 110/60 to 160/90.
There are two different types of high blood pressure in dogs:
The first type results from hereditary factors and accounts for only about 20% of cases in dogs.
The second type, known as secondary hypertension, arises from an underlying disease. Most high blood pressure cases in dogs fall into this category. That's why it's crucial to recognize the signs and symptoms of high blood pressure in dogs.
Risk factors for hypertension in dogs can include increased age, obesity, underlying diseases such as kidney disease or Cushing's disease, and certain medications. It is important for pet owners to be aware of the potential for high blood pressure in their dogs and to take their pets for regular check-ups with their veterinarian to monitor for any signs of hypertension or underlying health issues.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure in Dogs
Hypertension in dogs often hides in plain sight. Detecting and addressing high blood pressure in dogs becomes trickier because they can't communicate when they feel unwell. This is why it's crucial to understand and identify the signs of high blood pressure so you can work with your vet to tackle it.
Here are some things to watch out for:
- Loss of sight
- Heart murmurs
- Enlarged kidneys
- Rapid breathing
Any combination of these symptoms doesn't necessarily mean that your dog has high blood pressure, but it does mean that you should see your vet right away. Early detection could help diagnose other problems or diseases if it is secondary hypertension.
How to Take a Dog's Blood Pressure
Taking your dog's blood pressure might seem like using a regular blood pressure cuff, but it's not a good idea. It won't give accurate results.
Instead, veterinarians check a dog's blood pressure using a special cuff that goes around the dog's leg or tail. If your vet is concerned about your dog's blood pressure, they might need to do more diagnostic tests.
Treatment For High Blood Pressure
Your dog's treatment for high blood pressure depends on what kind of high blood pressure they have.
If your dog has high blood pressure because it runs in the family, which is not very common, you can help by changing their food and ensuring they exercise more. If that doesn't work, the vet might give them some medicine.
But if your dog's high blood pressure is because of something else, the vet will try to treat that condition first, rather than just the high blood pressure. They might also prescribe some medicine for high blood pressure along with other treatments.
High blood pressure in dogs can sometimes show up without any obvious symptoms, so it's important to take your dog to the vet regularly for a wellness exam if you see any signs that they might have high blood pressure.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets.