High Blood Pressure in Pets

Sick Dog

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) occurs when blood pressure in blood vessels is higher than normal.

Dogs and cats can suffer from hypertension just like humans. Chronic kidney problems, renal failure, diabetes, heart disease, neurological problems, are among the causes that can lead to hypertension in pets.

You can ask your veterinarian to check your pet’s blood pressure at the time of the yearly examination.

If you have a senior pet, it’s important that they have twice yearly checkups including blood pressure.

Watch for sudden blindness, depression, changes in behavior which could mean hypertension.

Pets who have chronic illnesses are generally checked more often and should have a blood pressure reading at checkup time. The underlying cause of hypertension must be treated.

Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury – mm Hg. The systolic or top number measures pressure while the heart is beating. The diastolic or lower number measures pressure when the heart rests between beats.

Normal blood pressure reading for dogs is 147/83; in cats 160/100. The reading can vary slightly depending on age and breed. If your pet is stressed by the examination, the reading may not be accurate and will have to be retaken. There is a special blood pressure cuff, similar to the human one, but pet-size.

Chronic hypertension can be treated with medications. If pressure is extremely high, your pet may need to remain in the hospital for treatment.

If your pet has hypertension it’s important to keep monitoring blood pressure. Watch your pet’s weight as obesity only adds to the problem.

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