How Hypertension Affects Dogs
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.
Symptoms of Hypertension
Dogs suffering from hypertension may develop one or more observable signs, including:
- Acute onset of blindness
- Ocular hemorrhage (bleeding inside of the eyeball, or globe)
- Dilated pupils
- Retinal detachment
- Abnormal eye movements (nystagmus)
- Enlarged or abnormally small kidneys
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Protein in the urine (proteinuria)
- Nose bleeds (epistaxis)
- Ataxia (lack of coordination)
- Partial paralysis of the limbs (hemiparesis, paraparesis)
- Heart murmurs
- Enlarged thyroid gland (associated with hyperthyroidism)
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 dog’s condition.
Dogs at Increased Risk
Greyhounds tend to have higher blood pressure than is found in other dogs; this is thought to be normal for this breed, although the reason for this association is not well understood. Older dogs tend to develop hypertension more commonly than do younger animals, especially secondary to thyroid, liver, endocrine or kidney disease.