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High Blood Pressure in Dogs

High Blood Pressure in Dogs

Dogs experiencing high blood pressure may have symptoms such as rapid breathing, seizures and weakness and is usually caused by an underlying issue. Here, our Egg Harbor Township vets share some information about high blood pressure in dogs and how it can be diagnosed and treated.

Hypertension in Dogs: What is High Blood Pressure?

While high blood pressure in dogs is rare, it is still a condition that can potentially affect them. For a dog's blood pressure to be considered high, it must be consistently higher than normal dog blood pressure (above 150mmHg).

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 cause of high blood pressure in dogs only makes up around 20% of all reported cases and is due to hereditary factors.

The second type is called secondary hypertension. If your dog experiences this type of high blood pressure, it will be caused by an underlying condition. Most cases of high blood pressure in dogs are secondary. Because of this, it is important to understand 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.

Which Dog Breeds Are More Likely to Develop High Blood Pressure

Certain dog breeds may be more prone to developing high blood pressure than others. One example is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, which is known to have a high incidence of chronic hypertension due to their predisposition to heart disease.

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

Signs of high blood pressure in dogs are easily missed by pet parents. Noticing and treating high blood pressure in dogs is made even more difficult by the fact that they have no way to tell us if they are feeling sick. That is why it is important to know and to be able to recognize the 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
  • Seizures
  • 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 a Dog's Blood Pressure is Checked

You may be wondering how to take a dog's blood pressure. While it may seem as simple as using a human blood pressure cuff, this is unlikely to give you an accurate reading and is not recommended.

Veterinarians use a specially designed inflatable cuff that is placed around the dog's leg or tail to take a reading. If your vet is concerned about your dog's blood pressure further testing may be required.

Diagnosing Hypertension in Dogs

High blood pressure in dogs is typically diagnosed through a combination of physical examination, blood pressure measurements, and blood tests. During a physical examination, your dog's veterinarian may check for signs such as 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. Blood tests can also be performed to evaluate for 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.

How High Blood Pressure in Dogs Can Be Treated

As with many other conditions, the treatment options for your dog will ultimately depend on the type of blood pressure they are suffering from.

Dogs with hereditary high blood pressure — the rarer of the two, can be treated with a change in diet and more exercise throughout the day. If that doesn't lower your dog's blood pressure, your vet may prescribe medication.

Dogs with secondary hypertension will likely receive treatment for the cause of hypertension, as opposed to hypertension itself. However, your vet may prescribe medication for hypertension in conjunction with other treatments.

High blood pressure in dogs commonly has no symptoms early on and so you should be extra vigilant about spotting potential symptoms and contacting your vet as soon as you notice anything is off.

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.

Is your dog showing signs of high blood pressure or any other possible health condition? Contact Newkirk Family Veterinarians today to book an appointment for your pup.

Always Welcoming New Patients

At Newkirk Family Veterinarians, we always accept new patients into our veterinary family. Our veterinarians are passionate about the health and well-being of Egg Harbor Township pets. Contact us today to book your pet's first appointment. 

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