Understanding High Blood Pressure in Dogs and Cats

High Blood Pressure In Dogs and Cats: A Precursor to Heart Disease

Between the years of 2007 and 2017, the number of active board certified veterinary specialists increased by 32 percent according to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s market research statistics . While nearly all specialties experienced growth in the last decade, the area of cardiology leads the pack with a 46 percent increase in the number of active veterinary cardiologists over the last 10 years.

More cardiologists, along with better informed pet owners, has resulted in a greater diagnosis of heart disease in dogs and cats. And a common precursor to heart disease in pets is the presence of high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.

Pet parents should understand the causes, signs and treatment options, such as pet prescription heart and blood pressure medication , in dogs and cats to help prevent or delay longer-term heart complications down the road.

Causes of High Blood Pressure in Dogs and Cats

High blood pressure in dogs and cats occurs when a pet’s arteries are too narrow or too “stiff,” making it so that the heart muscle (specifically the left ventricle) has to work harder.

In pets, high blood pressure is usually the result of another disease process. Common causes of high blood pressure in cats and dogs include:

  • Kidney disease
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hyperthyroidism

Other organs commonly affected by systemic hypertension are the eyes, kidneys and the brain.

How High Blood Pressure Contributes to Heart Disease in Dogs and Cats