Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a condition which can affect both dogs and cats. Monitoring blood pressure is the only way to know whether your dog is suffering from hypertension.
Causes Of Hypertension:
There are many causes of hypertension.
- Kidney failure is one of the most common causes in both dogs and cats. As your dog gets older, the kidneys begin to wear out, making it harder for the blood to filter through. This causes a backup of blood into the arteries and an increase in blood pressure.
- Heart disease is another common cause of hypertension in dogs and cats. Cardiomyopathy is a specific type of heart disease. It is a condition resulting in a thickening of the heart muscle. This thickening causes the heart to pump much harder, resulting in a rise in blood pressure.
- Other causes of hypertension in dogs are endocrine disorders, such as Cushing’s disease.
- In addition, some drugs can increase the blood pressure in both dogs and cats.
- It is thought that psychological stress (fear, apprehension, anger, etc.) may be a contributing factor of hypertension also, just as in humans.
Symptoms Of Hypertension:
The most common clinical sign of hypertension is sudden blindness. High blood pressure can cause the retina to detach, causing widely dilated pupils that do not constrict when exposed to bright light.
Diagnosis Of Hypertension:
Blood pressure monitoring is not as common in dogs and cats as it is in people because it is not as easy to measure in cats and dogs as it is in people. However, it is now starting to become much more common.
Hypertension is defined as an increase in blood pressure above normal values. Your dog’s veterinarian may advise monitoring your dog’s blood pressure if he/she is diagnosed with any of the conditions discussed above.
Treatment Of Hypertension:
If hypertension is caught early enough, treatment is available. There are medications available that can help lower the blood pressure directly, such as atenolol, amlodipine, and diltiazem.
However, for long-term success in treating this condition, it is important to determine and treat the underlying cause, as well as hypertension itself.
Once the retina has detached, blindness is usually permanent, especially if the detachment is longer than 24 hours in duration.