High blood pressure in dogs: is my dog suffering from hypertension?
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common problem in dogs. It can have many causes, and can often be successfully managed with medication. Left untreated, high blood pressure in dogs can go on to cause a range of problems, including heart disease, stroke, and damage to the kidneys or retina.
Identifying the symptoms of hypertension in dogs
If your dog displays any of the following signs or symptoms, he may be suffering from high blood pressure. Get him along to your local vet for a check-up.
- Lethargy and weakness
- Increased drinking and urinating
- Blood in the urine
- Protein in the urine
- Nose bleeds
- Heart murmurs
- Stroke-like symptoms
- Dilated pupils, or bleeding inside the eyeball
- Seizures or convulsions
- Disorientation, circling or other changes in behaviour
High blood pressure isn’t a disease in itself – it’s usually a symptom of an underlying condition. These can include:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease)
- Kidney disease
"In most cases hypertension in dogs can be successfully managed, and your dog should go on to enjoy a long and happy life.”
Some dog breeds are at greater risk of developing hypertension. These include:
- Bichon frise
- Australian terrier
Treating high blood pressure in dogs
If your vet suspects hypertension, he or she may need to do more tests to identify the cause of the underlying condition, so this can be addressed and treated. If the underlying condition is complicated they may refer your dog to a specialist.
Treatment often involves medication to lower the blood pressure, which can help to avoid any long-term damage. Your vet will usually want to check your dog’s blood pressure every three months.