Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) in Dogs
Hypertension refers to persistently high blood pressure. A dog’s blood pressure relates to the volume of blood pumped out of its heart and the degree of resistance, or elasticity, of its blood vessels. Blood pressure is usually highest when the heart contracts and lowest when it relaxes and fills. Hypertension can be caused by many things, including genetics, hyperthyroidism, Cushing’s Disease, diabetes, endocrine abnormalities, administration of certain drugs, stress, pain and liver, kidney or lung disease. High blood pressure is difficult to detect in dogs, because many of them don’t show any signs of distress when their blood pressure is elevated. However, if it remains elevated for a long time, the dog probably will experience some degree of pain or discomfort. Other possible symptoms include acute onset of blindness, bleeding inside the eyeballs, dilated pupils, detached retina, abnormal eye movements, bloody urine, nose bleeds and general disorientation. Some hypertensive dogs develop seizures.
Blood pressure is regulated by a highly integrated and complex system of connections between the central and peripheral nervous systems. The central nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system contains the nerves and some other nervous system tissue that are located outside of the brain and spinal cord. The kidneys, and of course the heart tissues, are very involved with the regulation of blood pressure.Hypertension can be
It is difficult to assess how having high blood pressure actually makes a dog feel. Certainly, some of the clinical manifestations of the condition described below are associated with pain, discomfort and other forms of distress.Dogs suffering from hypertension may develop one or more observable signs, including:Most of these signs will be associated with cases of secondary, rather than primary, hypertension, and the existence of the signs will depend upon the cause of the particular
Historically, both primary and secondary hypertension have been only sporadically diagnosed in domestic dogs, due in large part to the difficulty of diagnosing the condition and the inconsistency in dog’ presenting clinical signs. However, more and more veterinarians are assessing blood pressure levels in their canine patients. As a result, a diagnosis of hypertension is certainly on the increase.Dogs with primary hypertension usually have normal results on routine blood work, such as a complete blood
Virtually all dogs with hypertension have it only secondary to some other underlying disorder or disease. Treatment of secondary hypertension will be based upon the attending veterinarian’s overall assessment of the nature and severity of that underlying condition in a particular animal. Various diagnostic tools and techniques, and resulting blood pressure measurements, can be evaluated by the veterinarian to assess the likelihood or risk of damage to particular target organs (target organ damage, or TOD)