High Blood Pressure

Information to help with symptoms of canine and feline hypertension such as high blood pressure in cats and dogs.

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  1. What is High Blood Pressure?
  2. What Causes High Blood Pressure?
  3. Diagnosing High Blood Pressure
  4. Help for High Blood Pressure

What is High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension is blood pressure in the blood vessels that is abnormally higher than normal.

Blood pressure is checked in pets if an underlying disease is suspected, if the animal is older than nine years or if eye problems or blindness presents itself. A thorough physical examination which includes checking the heart, nervous system and kidneys together with a complete medical history will be performed. It is measured in a similar way as in humans, and an inflatable cuff is fitted on the animal’s foot or foreleg, or sometimes the tail.

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

It occurs as a result of the narrowing of the arteries and several underlying diseases such as hyperthyroidism, chronic renal failure, hypertension, Cushing’s disease, diabetes mellitus, polycythemia, glomerular disease or chronic renal failure may also contribute to high blood pressure.

Common symptoms and signs indicating that your dog or cat may have high blood pressure include blindness, dilated pupils, swollen kidneys, disorientation, weakness on one side of the body and legs, seizures, palpable thyroid gland, blood or protein in urine, heart murmurs or hypertension.

It affects both dogs and cats. In order to maintain your pet’s health, you should have his blood pressure checked regularly by your vet. If high blood pressure is caused by an underlying disease and left untreated, the heart, kidneys, nervous system and eyes can be affected.

Diagnosing High Blood Pressure

A standard blood-pressure measuring instrument which is an oscillometric device or Doppler flow device is used to check the pressure. Blood pressure in animals is measured from three different arterial – systolic, diastolic and average mean of both of them.

The normal blood pressure of a dog or cat generally depends on the breed and age of the animal. For dogs, the normal blood pressure reading is 147/83mm Hg while in cats; it is 160/100mm Hg.

Very often pets become excited when their blood pressure has to be measured and an inaccurate reading is taken. As a result, your vet may have to make repeated measurements of blood pressure to confirm the diagnosis. Additional tests such as x-rays, blood tests or ultrasound may also be ordered to determine the underlying cause of hypertension.

Help for High Blood Pressure

Your vet will prescribe medications such as a beta-blocker or calcium channel blocker to treat high blood pressure. In cases where blood pressure is extremely high, hospitalization may be required. Certain lifestyle changes for your pet may be recommended and these include a low sodium diet and weight loss program.


Tips to reduce high blood pressure in pets

There are a number of ways that you can minimize high blood pressure in pets and these include:

  • Feed your pet a high quality, all natural diet free of preservatives, colorants and additives
  • Reduce salt intake or provide your pet with a low sodium diet
  • Make sure that your pet maintains a healthy weight as being overweight increases the chance of many illnesses
  • Exercise your pet regularly to lower blood pressure and for health and wellbeing
  • Watch your pet for any unusual physical or behavioral changes
  • Ensure that your pet has regular visits to the vet
  • Minimize stress and anxiety in your pet
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