Dogs and cats have resting blood pressure values that are similar to humans. While your doctor can measure systolic (when the heart is pumping) and diastolic (when the heart is filling) blood pressure, in pets we can only measure systolic values accurately. Your pet’s systolic blood pressure should be <150 in the hospital setting. When your pet is under anesthesia blood pressure tends to drop. Having an intravenous catheter in place during the procedure allows your veterinarian to maintain adequate blood pressure. We use state of the art equipment to monitor the blood pressure under anesthesia. It can also help detect cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, kidney disease and thyroid disease as both high and low blood pressure is detrimental to our patients.
Doppler ultrasonic blood pressure is the most accurate for determining your pet’s systolic blood pressure while awake. Generally two skilled people are needed, one to restrain your pet, the other to obtain the reading. A small area is shaved on your pet’s tail or leg to allow contact with the transducer. A small amount of gel is placed on the area over the artery and the transducer is used to find a pulse. A blood pressure cuff is then used to occlude the artery. When the audible pulse returns it indicates the systolic blood pressure. Several readings are needed to achieve the correct measurement. Doppler Blood Pressure is the tool used commonly in heart and kidney disease patients but is also an indicator of normal health and should be measured periodically in all pets, particularly geriatric patients! Elevated blood pressure (hypertension) can lead to retinal, renal and cardiac disease.
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