Can Dogs get Hypertension?

September 4, 2014

Hypertension Scott Feldstein OKBy Langley Cornwell

Hypertension in dogs is similar to hypertension in people, but there are differences worth noting. Generally speaking, hypertension is an increase in blood pressure established over a period. The signs of hypertension in dogs are as silent as they are in humans. For many years, veterinarians did not check the blood pressure of dogs due to the lack of equipment to measure the pressure. Is your dog at risk?

The two types of high blood pressure

Primary hypertension is consistently high blood pressure readings with no obvious underlining health cause. Some breeds are more susceptible to primary hypertension, leading to the thought that there is a genetic component to the disease. According to the Canine Heath Foundation, “Dachshunds, Poodles, and certain terrier breeds have an increased risk.” Dogs usually present high reading between 2 and 14 years of age.

Secondary hypertension in dogs is more common, with about 80% of hypertension-affected dogs falling into this category. Many times, there is an underlying disease contributing to the incidence of hypertension in dogs. In fact, diabetes, kidney problems, hormone and thyroid problems may all be factors. The health of the dog becomes dependent on treating the underlying disease as well as treating the hypertension.

An early diagnosis of hypertension is important

• Hypertension is insidious, and may not be evident to most dog owners when it first starts to harm your dog’s body.
• Obesity in your dog is a leading cause of hypertension.
• Renal problems lead to an increase of the blood pressure of your pet, which in turn causes additional renal problems and possible renal failure.
• High blood pressure puts a dog’s vision at high risk. Blindness is a side effect of prolonged hypertension.
• Heart and lung lesions and edema increase in dogs with hypertension.
• Hypertension, often triggered by other conditions in dogs, is not as easily treatable in dogs as it is in humans.

How do you know if your dog is at risk for hypertension?

• Diagnosis is usually done by your regular veterinarian, who is familiar with your dog and has been monitoring his overall health. Ask your vet to routinely check your dog’s blood pressure. They have a cuff designed specifically for dogs.
• Often, another health issue will alert the vet to check your dog’s blood pressure.
• A consistent blood pressure reading of 150/95 or over defines a dog as hypertensive.
• Keep your eyes open to hypertension Scott Costelloneurological issues, vision problems, low appetite, strong or dark urine and other differences.

There is treatment for your hypertensive pooch.

Often when people have high blood pressure, their doctor will prescribe lifestyle, diet and exercise changes. In dogs, hypertension is more complicated and, the best way to deal with hypertension is to feed your pup a high quality, healthy dog food like the CANIDAE grain free Pure formulas. Additionally, it’s important for your dog to maintain an ideal lean weight, so along with the nutritious dog food, make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise.

• Your veterinarian will establish a treatment tailored to your individual dog.
• Your dog’s treatment plan will depend on whether he has an underlying cause such as renal or heart symptoms.

A hypertensive condition may not be obvious at first, but watch closely and pay attention to your dog’s habits. Notice if there seem to be any changes in his sight, urination or if he demonstrates any unusual neurological behaviors. If so, make an appointment with your veterinarian right away.

Top photo by Scott Feldstein/Flickr
Bottom photo by Scott Costello/Flickr

Read more articles by Langley Cornwell

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