Blood Pressure Monitoring
Proudly Serving Pets in Dallas, PA & Surrounding Area
At Back Mountain Veterinary Hospital in Dallas, PA, we keep pets healthy by providing blood pressure monitoring services. Although most people understand the dangers of high blood pressure for themselves, all too often we overlook the risks for our pets. Unlike humans, pets do not normally develop high blood pressure (hypertension) from an unhealthy lifestyle. However, similar to humans, the risk of developing hypertension increases with age.
In humans, hypertension can be a solitary condition. In other words, people can have high blood pressure, but be otherwise healthy. That’s why medical professionals call high blood pressure “The Silent Killer.” The situation for our furry friends is just the opposite.
Dogs and cats become hypertensive because of an underlying disease process, but the hypertension can be just as deadly. This is why routine blood work, especially as our pets age, is vital to maintaining their overall health. Early detection of certain diseases is what allows veterinarians to properly screen for hypertension.
The diseases that predispose your pet to hypertension include, but are not limited to:
Diabetes • Chronic Renal Failure • Adrenal gland tumors • Cushing’s Disease • Hyperthyroidism
Abrupt or progressive loss of sight is another indicator of hypertension in pets. This is a result of the pressure building up in tiny vessels that surround the retina. If the pressure gets too great, the retina may detach, partially or entirely.
Measuring Blood Pressure
The method of measuring blood pressure in our pets is comparable to people, however, as the cuff deflates, the doctor listens to the blood flow through an ultrasonic probe instead of a stethoscope. The probe connects to a device called an Ultrasonic Doppler Flow Detector, which emits an audible sound that indicates systolic pressure has been reached.
Normal systolic readings should not rise above 160, with 180 or greater being highly indicative of an increased risk for organ damage. Diastolic pressure can not be monitored without an arterial catheter, so veterinarians only monitor for systolic pressure. Multiple readings are taken to rule out “nervous pet” from true hypertension.
How is Hypertension Treated
In most situations with pets, treating the disease process that is causing the hypertension results in treating the hypertension. Medications are also available to treat the hypertension, if the underlying disease can not be controlled or until the disease can be controlled.
A special diet may be prescribed, not specifically to control blood pressure, but to address the needs of the organs at the root of the disease, for example a special kidney diet or a diet for hyperthyroidism. Pets with high blood pressure should be monitored every two to four months.