Understanding High Blood Pressure in Pets

Understanding High Blood Pressure in Pets

Posted 2014-11-28 by Kit Morrisfollow
Dogs and cats can suffer from high blood pressure or hypertension just like we do.

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Blindness is a common and very distressing symptom of high blood pressure, especially in cats. This blindness can be sudden and without warning signs. It is caused by fluid building up behind the retina which forces it to detach. If caught early, treatment may save your pet’s sight.

Retrieved from MorgueFile

In dogs, the symptoms can include “funny turns” or, more seriously, strokes which could be sudden and lead to death. This is why there is the need for regular blood pressure screening to catch the problem.

How can you deal with blood pressure problems before they lead to these dramatic symptoms? Take your pet to a clinic. At a clinic the vet may get a clue that your pet has hypertension from an eye check, as a common sign is fluid building up at the back of the eye between the retina and the globe.

Retrieved from MorgueFile

To confirm this, the vet will measure your pet’s blood pressure. This procedure, much like our own, is painless. A small amount of fur will be clipped above the paw so that the sensor can make contact with your pet's skin. A cuff is placed around the pet’s arm and inflated (similar to the strap around our own arm in a doctor's office).

After addressing any underlying health issues the vet will prescribe some treatment tailored to your pet's need. For example, if your cat has a kidney disease it should go onto special renal diets, as the medication commonly prescribed for this purpose (benazepril), also reduces blood pressure.

Retrieved from MorgueFile

You should make sure that your pet undertakes regular screening (especially in "senior" pets). These screenings (which should be twice a year) can detect blood pressure changes in the early stages before they cause a problem.

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