High blood pressure is a common problem among humans. It affects the entire organism until at some point there is organ damage and other complications without treatment. Hypertension in the dog hardly ever occurs as a cause of the disease, but mostly as a symptom. Either way, it is important to recognize and treat him as early as possible before he can do any further damage.
What is dog hypertension?
With every beat, the heart pumps blood through the arteries to supply all the cells in the body with sufficient nutrients. Because the arteries have some resistance, pressure is created; The more blood the heart pumps into the main artery per minute, the higher the tension of the vascular muscles and the less stretchy the vascular wall, the higher the blood pressure. Immediately after the heartbeat, the pressure is the highest, just before the next beat, when the ventricles fill with blood again, the lowest. Therefore, blood pressure is usually given two values: the maximum or systolic value and the lowest or diastolic value. The unit of measurement is "millimeters of mercury" and is abbreviated to mmHg.
In animals, it is difficult to correctly measure the lower value, so the veterinarian pays particular attention to the upper value. Healthy blood pressure in dogs is around 134 mmHg on average, although greyhounds like the Greyhound (149 mmHg) and small dog breeds like the Dachshund (142 mmHg) have higher blood pressure than large dog breeds like the Labrador (118 mmHg) or Golden Retriever (122 mmHg). If the blood pressure deviates 10 to 20 mmHg up or down from the respective average value, this is not a cause for concern. In addition, it is advisable to discuss with the veterinarian whether the dog's high blood pressure needs treatment. If you are unsure which values are normal for your dog, ask your veterinarian for advice.
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How can high blood pressure be determined in dogs?
In dogs, as in humans, a blood pressure monitor is used. Your dog gets a cuff strapped around the front leg, under the elbow joint over soft tissue. This doesn't hurt your four-legged friend, even if the cuff has to fit tightly in order to be able to measure blood pressure correctly. Nevertheless, it is somewhat uncomfortable and exciting for the animal, which causes the blood pressure to rise in the short term. Therefore, the veterinarian measures the blood pressure at least three times so that your four-legged friend can calm down in between and actually show his usual values. It is best to keep your dog company so that he feels better calmed and safer.
It is more difficult to determine high blood pressure in dogs without a measuring device. The symptoms vary widely, depending on which underlying disease triggered the high blood pressure. If your dog shows strong thirst, has nosebleeds, is short of breath or has anorexia, you should definitely go to the vet and have the blood pressure measured during the examination. Other signs that may indicate illnesses that are associated with high blood pressure are listlessness to depression, cramps and seemingly baseless, constant barking.
Causes of high blood pressure in dogs
If your dog has high blood pressure, the veterinarian will look for the causes and ask you about other symptoms and abnormalities. It is extremely rare for the veterinarian to find no causes and the hypertension itself is the disease. In this case, a genetic predisposition can play a role, but more details are not yet known in veterinary medicine. Typical diseases that result in high blood pressure in the dog are:
● Cushing syndrome
● Chronic renal failure and other kidney problems
● Diabetes mellitus
● heart disease
● Thyroid problems
If your dog is overweight or older, a regular blood pressure measurement is also advisable as a check. The veterinarian will essentially treat the underlying disease - then the blood pressure would then have to drop back to a healthy level. If he does not do this, if he is extremely high or if the doctor does not find the cause, he prescribes drugs such as beta blockers that lower blood pressure.