Most people are aware of high blood pressure affecting humans. In people it can be caused by stress, smoking, alcohol and high salt diets etc and can lead to heart disease, strokes, visual loss and other issues.
Did you know that hypertension is also a common problem in animals?
In animals, hypertension normally has an underlying cause. Usually a disease process is involved and these include – kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, cushings and several others. Unfortunately hypertension can start causing problems before anyone is aware of these underlying issues. Prolonged hypertension can lead to damage in the eyes causing blindness, damage to kidneys, and increased the risk of blood clots of emboli.
In the old days, obtaining blood pressure non-invasively (without a needle poked into an artery) on cats and dogs was a laborious process. These days blood pressure in pets is measured in a similar way to people. It is a relatively simple test where a cuff is placed around one of the legs and inflated. As it is slowly deflated the examiner listens to blood flow in an artery to when this started pumping again. With pets in a vet clinic the test is complicated slightly by their stress levels. If they are very anxious the blood pressure will go up a bit but this is taken into account when testing.
Unfortunately high blood pressure is often detected when an animal goes suddenly blind or has a vascular or “stroke” like episode with sudden neurological signs. If high blood pressure is detected and treated then sometimes these problems can be partially reversed and treated.
(Machine and cuff used to detect Hypertension- simple and painless)
If you have a senior pet or are concerned about your pets blood pressure call us to book in for a check up and blood pressure testing, we are here to help!
Tags: Pet, Disease, Pet Health, Senior, Elderly, Cat, Vet, Pet care, Veterinary Medicine, Dog, Hypertension, Blood Pressure, Diet