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Blood Pressure of our Pets

Usually when we visit our own doctors, we get our blood pressure taken to monitor or detect a number of ongoing health conditions such as prehypertension, hypertension (high blood pressure) and hypotension (low blood pressure), heart diseases or other conditions. Generally, the older one gets, the more frequent blood pressure checks are encouraged. For our pets, when they turn 6 years of age, checking of their blood pressure often is crucial.

On the contrary, when do you last recall blood pressure taken of your pets, especially geriatric patients?  Blood pressure reading is typically taken before, during and post-surgery as part of the protocol to monitor the vital statistics of the pets. However, besides that, it is seldom taken as a routine check-up.

REFERENCES

  1. Guidelines for the Identification, Evaluation, and Management of Systemic Hypertension in Dogs and Cats, S. Brown, C. Atkins, R. Bagley, A. Carr, L. Cowgill, M. Davidson, B. Egner, J. Elliott, R. Henik, M. Labato, M. Littman, D. Polzin, L. Ross, P. Snyder, and R. Stepien, J Vet Intern Med 2007;21:542–558
  2. Pressure’s On to Monitor Blood Pressure, Lori Luechtefeld, Veterinary Practice News Sep 2009
  3. Why Is My Dog’s Blood Pressure Abnormal. Ron Hines DVM PhD. http://www.2ndchance.info
  4. Animal Physiotherapy: Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation of Animals edited by Catherine McGowan, Lesley Goff, Narelle

WHY IS BLOOD PRESSURE CHECKING CRUCIAL

Regular blood pressure checks in particular in geriatric patients or patients with underlying diseases is important as it:-

  1. Helps detect the onset of certain diseases early, e.g. decreased cardiac functions; and
  2. Detects and arrest hypotension or hypertension that could occur due to underlying diseases, before it causes greater TOD (total organ damage). This is known as secondary hypotension or secondary hypertension.  Diseases in dogs and cats which could lead to secondary hypertension includes acute kidney disease, chronic kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, hyperadrenocarticism, hypothyroidism, obesity, pheochromocytoma and primary hyperaldosteronisms [1].

As a wise and old saying goes, prevention is better than cure.  If left undetected and untreated, continued increases in blood pressure can cause damage to the eyes, ears, brains and kidneys of your pets.

petmap singapore blood pressure BP dogs
petmap blood pressure cats

HOW DO I GET MY DOG TESTED

CONTACT YOUR LOCAL VETERINARIAN TODAY

The most accurate way of testing blood pressure is through direct arterial blood pressure monitoring whereby an arterial catheter is inserted into patients, attached to a disposable pressure transducer system for continuous monitoring. However, this is invasive and relies on the catheter being placed in the appropriate artery. Hence, it tends to be used usually in complicated or advanced surgical cases.

Using the Oscillometric or Doppler methods are non-invasive methods and these are more commonly used for routine blood pressure checks.  These methods are considered indirect arterial blood pressure monitoring as it relies on the detection of arterial blood flow or vessel wall movements in a peripheral artery[2]. Pet owners may inquire at their regular clinics for blood pressure checks which costs between $ 30- $ 55 depending on the establishment.

MONITORING AFTER TREATMENT

The goal of treatment is to maintain systolic blood pressure at less than 160 mmHg. Blood pressure should be rechecked one week after starting a drug or changing the dose. Once the dog or cat is stable on medications, reevaluation should be performed every 2-3 months.

keep your dog happy

THE RELATION OF BLOOD PRESSURE AND REHABILITATION

1. Fainting | Seizures

Another type of high blood pressure in pets is pulmonary hypertension. In that situation, blood pressure increases in the blood vessels going from the pet’s heart to its lungs, this problem often results in rapid breathing (hyperpnea), weakness, bluish gums (cyanosis) and, occasional, fainting and seizures after exertion or exercises [3].

2. Uncontrolled Diabetes

Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to devastating effects on the dog’s body, and effects can include seizures and ketoacidosis – a potentially life-threatening acute condition that can be accompanied by rapid breathing, dehydration, lethargy, vomiting, or sweet-smelling breath; can be triggered by factors such as stress, surgery, fasting, infection, or an underlying health condition combined with low insulin level. The effects of ketoacidosis can become an hazard for dogs in hydro-pool [3].

3. Systemic Compromise

Hydrotheraphy is not recommended for dogs with systemic compromises such as hypotension or hyperextension, which can affect part of the circulatory system concerned with the transport of oxygen to and carbon dioxide from the body in general, especially as distinct from the pulmonary part concerned with the transport of oxygen from and carbon dioxide to the lungs [4].

REHABILITATION IS A JOINT EFFORT BETWEEN US AND YOU AS THEIR VET

Systolic Blood Pressure mm HgDiastolic Blood Pressure mm HgBlood Pressure SubstageRisk of Future Target Organ Damage
<150<95NormotensiveMinimal
150 – 15995 – 99Borderline HypertensiveLow
160 – 179100 – 119HypertensiveModerate
≥ 180≥120Severely HypertensiveHigh

Additional Reading

International Renal Interest Society IRIS