Believe it or not, your pet can have high blood pressure too! That being said, the significance of this is a bit different than it would be for you and me. Hypertension in cats and dogs is almost always secondary, which means it is caused by an underlying condition or disease. Because secondary hypertension is a signal that something else is wrong, blood pressure screening is a great way to discover other health issues in your pet such as acute kidney disease or hyperthyroidism. BP screening can help to prevent serious organ damage if a condition or disease is caught in its early stages.
Recognizing the value of BP screening, more and more vet practices now include BP screening in annual pet physicals. It’s also much easier to assess your pet’s BP than to perform other more invasive tests. This is especially true for mature and geriatric animals which have a higher incidence of diseases that cause secondary hypertension. Veterinary guidelines have been touting the benefits of BP checks for many years.
In the old days, obtaining blood pressure non-invasively (without a needle poked into an artery) on cats and dogs was a laborious process that involved shaving the fur from the BP site and using Doppler ultrasound just to get the systolic pressure. (I’m sure Fido loved this!) But these days are over! SunTech has been providing the veterinary market with OEM NIBP vet technology for several years – technology developed specifically for cats and dogs. And the best part for you and your pet – just one screening provides all BP readings (SYS, DIA, MAP, HR) and no shaving is required!
We get our blood pressure checked virtually every time we go to our primary care physician. It’s that important. So next time you go to the vet, do your pet a favor and ask about BP screening!