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Signs of High Blood Pressure in Dogs

Signs of High Blood Pressure in Dogs

Did you know that dogs, like people, can suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension)? In fact, some breeds have a genetically increased risk of high blood pressure. Read on to learn more about the signs of high blood pressure in dogs and what to do.

Hypertension In Dogs

A normal dog's blood pressure is fairly wide and can range anywhere from 110/60 to 160/90. For a dog's blood pressure to be considered high, it must be consistently above normal dog blood pressure (above 150mmHg).

Causes of High Blood Pressure in Dogs

High blood pressure in dogs is most commonly caused by underlying health conditions, however, hereditary factors lead to high blood pressure in about 20% of cases.

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 parents 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. Routine checkups allow veterinarians to monitor pet health and address any concerning symptoms right away.

Dog Breeds That Face an Increased Risk of 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. 

Signs Your Dog May Have High Blood Pressure

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 our canine companions have no way to tell us if they are feeling sick. That is why it is important 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 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 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.

Diagnosis of High Blood Pressure 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 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.

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.

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 it time for your dog's routine checkup? Contact our North Boulder vets today to book a wellness exam for your four-legged friend.

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