Do you know that cats and dogs can actually have high blood pressure( Hypertension) ?
Because animals can’t speak, owners often don’t know that their cats and dogs are actually feeling unwell, and the incidence of hypertension in patients with related diseases or in elderly animals is actually higher than expected. If the blood pressure is not properly measure, hypertension is often overlooked.
What are the causes for high blood pressure in cats and dogs?
1.Caused by emotions or react to the environment : When the animal is stressed, the blood pressure will increase⬆, in this kind of situation animals do not require treatment.
2.Secondary hypertension : This is the most common cause for hypertension; if the animal is treated with certain drugs which may cause hypertension, such as steroid or hormonal drugs that stimulate hematopoiesis, etc.
In addition, cats and dogs have different diseases, which may induce secondary hypertension.
🅰 Dogs: common diseases including chronic kidney disease, Hyperadrenocorticism, i.e. excessive adrenaline secretion (also known as Cushing's disease), obesity or certain adrenal tumors, etc.
🅱 Cats: common diseases including chronic kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, primary hyperaldosteronism, etc.
3.Unknown reason: According to existing statistics, the proportion of unexplained high blood pressure is actually higher than previously thought
About 13-20% of cats with high blood pressure don’t have underlying cause
How does hypertension impact the body?
Hypertension will cause damage to certain organs
Including brain, heart, kidneys and retina
Serious consequences include epilepsy, stroke, blindness, cardiac hypertrophy or heart failure, impaired kidney function, etc.
What are the symptoms for hypertension?
Since animals cannot speak, it is difficult to notice the symptoms of hypertension, but common symptoms include fatigue, weakness, inappropriate bowel movements, personality changes or aggression, headache ( It is often difficult to tell) , loss of appetite, blindness, dilated pupils, increased drinking and urination , epilepsy, etc.
It is also worth noting that acutely rising blood pressure is more likely to induce obvious symptoms. However older animals often have gradual blood pressure rising when the problem progresses, which makes many owners think that animals are just old but in fact the animal has been suffering from high blood pressure for some time.
When should I get cat and dog blood pressure checked?
There is still no definite incidence rate of the proportion of cats and dogs suffering from hypertension in the existing statistical data. Therefore, the current world veterinary consensus does not recommend that young and healthy animals must have their blood pressure measured on specific age.
However, due to the relatively high proportion of hypertension in elderly animals, regular monitoring of blood pressure in older animals is reasonable.
In addition, if your animal has related diseases or symptoms that may cause hypertension, their blood pressure should be checked.
How can we measure blood pressure?
There are two most common ways of measuring blood pressure in animals:
1.The first one is the most accurate and the most suitable way of measurement for general animals during outpatient examinations - Doppler blood pressure machine
2.The other is called Oscillometric devices. This blood pressure measurement method is more suitable for animals under anesthesia or those who do not struggle to move. It is also commonly used in general human medical clinics, because humans know how to stretch Straight relaxation, but often not suitable or accurate in awake animals.
There are some blood pressure machines for animals in the market. Can I measure blood pressure at home?
The answer is NO!
Generally, the blood pressure machines sold on the market are mostly the second type of oscillating blood pressure machines, and the readings are often inaccurate, so it is likely to cause misjudgment.
Accurate blood pressure measurement must be measured by a professional veterinarian or a veterinary assistant. It also requires professional veterinary knowledge to determine whether an animal really suffers from high blood pressure, instead of diagnosing high blood pressure only by numerical results.
What should I do if my pet has hypertension ? Is there a chance it can be cured?
If the animal is diagnosed with hypertension, unless it is caused by certain drugs or some of the diseases mentioned previously which induce secondary hypertension. It is possible to resolve hypertension after the drug is stopped or the primary disease is treated. Most hypertensive animals need to take long-term medication.
Do not stop the medication on your own unless you are instructed by a veterinarian.
If the animal feels unwell after taking the medicine, be sure to ask the veterinarian for instructions to consider returning to the doctor early for examination.
My pets have been treated for hypertension and are stable for a while, do I still need to take them back for a recheck?
It is important for regular recheck.
Although many animals have taken antihypertensive drugs on time, their blood pressure may still be unstable for some reasons. In addition, most animals with hypertension are elderly animals and may have other diseases or complications.
Regular follow-up visits can lead to early detection of other problems or timely adjustment of the treatment dose and plan of blood pressure lowering drugs.
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