How Accurate Are My Cat (Or Dog’s) Blood Pressure Readings At My Animal Hospital?
Ron Hines DVM PhD
The vast majority of cats, and quite a few dogs, are homebodies that do not enjoy visits to their local animal hospital. Fear-Free marketing not withstanding, your pet’s memories of prior visits and tendency to be suspicious of new situations have physiological consequences. (read here) So does simple excitement. Because of that the accuracy of your cat and dog’s blood pressure reading at your animal hospital is always in doubt. (read here, here & here) I do not know of any specific cat breeds that are more prone to anxiety or high blood pressure than others; but sighthounds such as deerhounds are known to have normally higher blood pressure than most other breeds.
So before agreeing to place your cat or dog on lifelong blood pressure-lowering medications, I believe that it would be wise to have a friendly house call veterinarian check your pet’s blood pressure several times while your pet is relaxing at home. (read here). The visit can be for something else, just be sure the vet brought a monitor along and casually request it.
What Medications Might A Veterinarian Dispense For High Blood Pressure In Cats And Dogs?
ACE inhibitors such as enalapril and benazepril , calcium channel blockers such as amlodipine, ARBs such as valsartan or losartan, Alpha blockers such as phenoxybenzamine or prazocin and beta-blockers such as atenolol are all dispensed by veterinarians to lower blood pressure. These are all valid drugs for a number of health issues that dogs and cats face other than simple hypertension.
What Is A Normal Cat And Dog’s Blood Pressure?
Canine hypertension is diagnosed by persistent systolic (the higher number) blood pressure greater than or equal to 160 mmHg as measured by oscillometric ( see here: or Doppler ultrasonographic apparatus. see here:
Normal systolic BP in relaxed cats ranges from 120 to 140 mm with an average of about 110 mm Hg. Most relaxed dogs have blood pressure in the range of 110 to 160. Veterinarians have not found a way to measure your dog or cats diastolic blood pressure which is the lower number that your physician reports to you.
Is There More Than One Form of High Blood Pressure In Dogs And Cats?
Yes, there are two.
This article is about high blood pressure when it affects your pet’s entire body. That is called systemic or arterial hypertension. When high blood pressure affects only your pet’s lungs and the heart blood vessels that lead to its lungs, it is called pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonary hypertension is diagnosed and treated in other ways. The most common medication veterinarians dispense for that problem is sildenafil (Viagra®). Read about the most common cause of pulmonary hypertension in dogs and cats here.
The Rest Of This Article Is By One Of My Readers:
Subject: Blood Pressure Reading Was Wrong By 80 Points Due To Fear
You know that Gilbert is taking amlodipine for his “high blood pressure”. He takes 0.625 mg morning plus 0.625 mg evenings.
Gilbert’s blood pressure tests 180 – 210 at the vet. He does shake which can effect the reading. I bought a quality device. They sell for $1500 to $2000, but are worth owning and home testing. I have studied their use carefully and get the same results as Dr. M*** does when Gilbert is at his office – 180 to 210. I mention this because of the 70 point gap.
I’m buying from Wedgwood in New Jersey. I may try Best Pet Rx in New York. Having a vet come to my house as you suggested didn’t work. She scared him and held him tightly. So I bought a $80 Contech AO Vet. It didn’t work so I returned it. They have $300-$600 models that I didn’t try. I didn’t care for the doppler I tried out. So I bought a Petmap by Ramsey rebuilt for $1200 from 2007 with a one year guarantee. Auto ones are $1700. Mine, albeit 2007, is supposed to be as good but a pump up model because Dr. M*** has that model too. I would have otherwise bought the new 2019 auto for $1700 instead. I still may get the automatic. I have a 30 day trial period.
Perhaps your readers could buy and share one if nearby each other, or in a club, or a loaner or rental. It takes two hours to learn and practice. I was shocked and believe in avoiding over treatment. Maybe Gilbert doesn’t need amlodipine at all.
I wrote out detailed instructions on testing, if you would like them.
Happy New Year to Gloria and you.
Fri, Jan 10, 11:25 AM (2 days ago)
Don’t go to any trouble on the article. I know you are very busy re-coding your website. I replaced the BP draft you sent me with this. Feel free to use what you have now, or replace it with this, or modify anything in any way as you wish: I told Ramsey Instruments/ Petmap you might post something mentioning their tester with photos. I stopped the Amlodipine Wednesday. and Gilbert has remained at 135 for the past 2 days with 7 tests in the morning and evening. I’ll check it daily. Dr R., my vet, agrees that an 80 point differences (elevation) in blood pressure readings is common for cats when taken at the veterinary hospital. Regrettable for that major error, but veterinarians don’t currently have a way to correct this issue. I suggested that veterinarians rent accurate blood pressure meters to their pet-owning clients or set up a take-home loan program so pet owners could take the meters home and test their pet’s BP in a less stressful setting.
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