Blood Pressure in Dogs
By, Anne Chauvet, DVM, DACVIM Neurology
When you go to your doctor, do you see the blood pressure manometer or your doctor first? When you take your pet to your veterinarian, do you get a blood pressure reading every time? Why is there such a difference and does blood pressure matter in pets? After all, our pets do not lead stressful 9-5 lives and are not under deadlines or the orders of domineering bosses. So why would my pet have any concern for blood pressure problems? Let me tell you, you should be concerned because hypertension is very common in your pets and it can kill.
HOW IS BLOOD PRESSURE MEASURED IN PETS?
There are two types of blood pressure measurements: direct (catheter in the artery) and indirect. Indirect blood pressure in pets is measured in two ways.
- Dynamap (picture 1) and the other is systolic Doppler measurement (Picture 2). The first method is similar to that used with us at your doctor’s. A cuff is placed on the front leg and pressure is used to constrict the arm until pulse disappears. When the pulse resolves as the pressure is released, the systolic pressure is measured. When the pulse disappears again or measured when no more pressure in the cuff, that is the diastolic pressure. Animals being different than people, the equipment used is particular and thus you cannot use a human product of this.
- With the Doppler, the cuff is placed on the forearm of the animal and the underside of the paw shaved. Conducting gel is used on a Doppler crystal that is applied to that shaved area, looking for distal pulse as the cuff pressure is released. In this situation, only systolic pressure is measured but this method is far more accurate than the former. This equipment is more expensive and for this, the patient must be on its side and the pressure measured on the upper front leg. So, you can imagine that it takes at least two people and for larger pets or uncooperative pets, three people to get a good measurement of blood pressure.
WHAT IS NORMAL BLOOD PRESSURE FOR DOGS?
- 120-140 mmHg resting systolic
- In hospital we allow 160-170 mmHg due to stress
CAUSES OF HYPOTENSION (LOW BLOOD PRESSURE)
- Addison’s disease = hypoadrenocorticism
- Cardiac disease
- Blood loss
SIGNS OF HYPOTENSION
TREATMENT FOR HYPOTENSION
- Treat the blood loss, the shock or the poor adrenal function
CAUSES OF HYPERTENSION
- Primary hypertension – inherited
- Secondary hypertension is more common
- Diabetes mellitus
- Cardiac disease
- Brain disease
- Renal disease
CLINICAL SIGNS OF HYPERTENSION
- Behavior changes
- Dietary change
- Treat the underlying disease
If no response to the treatments, then be ready to see a specialist and likely an internist and a cardiologist and possibly other specialist/
For more questions about blood pressure in dogs, contact Criticalvetcare.com or 941-929-1818.