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Systemic Hypertension in Dogs

Mark J. Acierno, DVM, MBA, DACVIM, Midwestern University

Internal Medicine

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June 2022
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Peer Reviewed

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Clinician's Brief
Clinician's Brief

SIGNS OF TARGET ORGAN DAMAGE

SBP is categorized based on the risk for TOD, examples include:

  • Eye: tortuous vessels, retinal hemorrhage/edema, retinal detachment 
  • Heart: left ventricular free wall hypertrophy (eg, systolic murmur, gallop murmur, arrhythmia); signs of heart disease possible
  • Kidney: progression of kidney disease; may be exacerbated by proteinuria 
  • Brain: altered mentation, seizure, coma, death

TABLE

CATEGORIES OF BLOOD PRESSURE BASED ON RISK FOR TARGET ORGAN DAMAGE

SBP Risk for TOD Category
<140 mm Hg Minimal Normotensive
140-159 mm Hg Low Prehypertensive*
160-179 mm Hg Moderate Hypertensive
≥180 mm Hg High Severely hypertensive
*Prehypertensive patients are likely to become hypertensive.

HOW TO MINIMIZE RISK FOR SITUATIONAL HYPERTENSION

  • Place pet owner and patient in a quiet area away from other patients.
  • Allow patient to acclimate to new environment before measuring BP.
  • Measure BP before performing examination or obtaining vital signs.
  • Ensure owner is present unless their presence is disruptive.

ACEI = angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, AKI = acute kidney injury, ARB = angiotensin receptor blocker, BP = blood pressure, CKD = chronic kidney disease, RAAS = renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, SBP = systolic blood pressure, TOD = target organ damage

For global readers, a calculator to convert laboratory values, dosages, and other measurements to SI units can be found here.

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