High blood pressure in dogs and cats
Most people are aware of the prevalence and significance of high blood pressure , or hypertension, in humans, and the importance of early diagnosis and treatment. However, we’ve only just recently started becoming aware of high blood pressure and the potential health consequences in dogs and cats. In cats and dogs, both acute and chronic kidney and renal failure are commonly associated with high blood pressure.
That is why, especially in aging pets, twice yearly wellness exams are recommended. If symptoms are observed, such as increasing thirst in dogs or cats, these pets should have their blood and urine tested for the presence of kidney disease, in addition to having their blood pressure measured at their veterinarian’s office. In aging cats, an overactive thyroid gland known as hyperthyroidism can also be a common cause of high blood pressure, and even thickening of the heart muscle, which can lead to a health threatening disease known as cardiomyopathy.
In addition to kidney disease, certain hormonal disorders in dogs such as Canine Cushing’s disease can lead to high blood pressure which, if left untreated with appropriate pet medications, can lead to further kidney damage, sudden visual changes like blindness from retinal detachment (more commonly seen in cats), neurological complications including stroke, as well as cardiovascular complications including the formation of blood clots that can lead to cats and dogs with sudden difficulty breathing, and even sudden death.
As in people, early detection and treatment of high blood pressure, as well as looking for potential underlying diseases that may be causing them is the key in preventing these complications. Once diagnosed, prescription medications such as calcium channel blockers (most common one used for this in veterinary medicine known as Norvasc or Amlodipine, ACE inhibitors such as Enalapril or Benazepril, or beta blockers such as Atenolol are often prescribed by veterinarians as a single drug or in some severe cases in combination.
As in people, healthy nutritious and minimally processed naturally preserved diets such as Pet Guard or Wysong, or a proper homemade diet is recommended. Nutraceutical supplements such as Vetri-DMG liquid, as well as antioxidants like Proanthozone can help as well. Even omega-3 fatty acids such as Super Pure Omega 3, Missing Link, or Nordic Naturals products can all help especially in kidney disease patients, but also as general supplements for health and well-being.