When we think of our dogs, high blood pressure can be a real concern many pet owners may not consider. In this article, our Erin vets discuss the causes, signs, and treatment of high blood pressure in dogs.
High Blood Pressure in Dogs
High blood pressure in dogs is not very common but still occurs in a small percentage of dogs. For a dog's blood pressure to be considered high, it must be consistently higher than a dog's normal blood pressure.
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.
The Two Types of High Blood Pressure in Dogs
The first is high blood pressure caused by hereditary factors. This makes up only about 20% of cases of high blood pressure in dogs.
The second type is called secondary hypertension. This is high blood pressure caused by an underlying disease. 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.
Signs of High Blood Pressure in Dogs
Many times, hypertension is not something that you can see. 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:
- 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.
Treating a Dog's 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. Your vet may prescribe medication if that doesn't lower your dog's blood pressure.
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.
Often, the first signs of hypertension wind up being asymptomatic, so you must schedule regular vet visits to detect any signs of high blood pressure in your dog.