When most us of think of high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), we usually think of ourselves, friends or family members. We would never think of our dog as having hypertension. But it does happen, albeit not for the same reasons as in humans.
What is high blood pressure in dogs? According to the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, Inc., “Hypertension, often called high blood pressure, is the elevation of blood pressure above a number that’s expected for the species …dogs with systolic blood pressures exceeding 150 mmHg may experience negative effects of their high blood pressure and require medication or further reevaluation.”*
If my dog has high blood pressure, what does it mean? Hypertension in dogs usually signifies that your pooch could be suffering from a kidney disease. The kidneys are crucial to regulating a dog’s blood pressure. Therefore, a diseased kidney cannot properly adjust a dog’s blood pressure. In addition, tumors in the adrenal glands can cause high blood pressure in dogs.
Which diseases cause high blood pressure in dogs? The most common diseases that cause hypertension in dogs are Chronic Renal disease, Endocrine disease, Cushing’s disease, Diabetes mellitus, Adrenal tumor, and/or obesity.
What are the symptoms of hypertension in dogs? Typical signs include intraocular bleeding, detachment of the retina, congestive heart failure accompanied by consistent coughing, rapid breathing and difficulty in breathing. If your dog has suffered a stroke as a result of hypertension, the neurological damage might affect the dog’s walk, ability to balance itself and in some cases blindness and slowing down in mental alertness. If the kidneys are affected, your dog will display an increase in drinking, urination, loss of appetite, and frequent vomiting. If your dog starts to exhibit any one or more of these symptoms, take it to a veterinarian as soon as possible for a complete diagnosis.
How is high blood pressure in dogs diagnosed? Your veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical examination which will include taking your dog’s blood pressure reading similar to the way a doctor takes a human’s. In most cases, a veterinarian will take several readings during the same visit to ensure accuracy. If hypertension in your dog is suspected, your veterinarian will run additional tests to find the cause.
How is hypertension in dogs treated? Once your veterinarian gets to the root cause of your dog’s high blood pressure, he or she will most likely treat the disease along with the high blood pressure.
What type of high blood pressure medications will my dog be given? Your veterinarian might recommend, benazepril for dogs with high blood pressure which is an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, or amlodipine – a calcium channel blocker. To treat kidney disease your veterinarian might suggest the following kidney medications: Epaktin is a nutritional supplement that helps slow down the progression of chronic kidney disease, Azodyl – helps to slow down uremic toxin buildup and prevent further kidney damage in dogs, or RenaPlus in powdered form – supports renal health in dogs with hypertension.