High Blood Pressure in Shiba Inu: What you Need to Know

In human health, high blood pressure is an alarming condition. But do you know your Shiba Inu is also susceptible to such a difficult health issue? 

High blood pressure can occur in up to 10% of dogs, and diagnosis is tricky too. Our dogs can’t tell us what they feel, so veterinarians rely on symptoms. It is a serious health condition and needs treatment and monitoring. 

As fur parents, you should also be aware of the causes, the first signs, and how to prevent and cure high blood pressure in dogs. 

What is high blood pressure? 

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when your dog’s blood pressure is higher than normal. This health condition affects the heart, kidneys, and nervous system. 

There are two known cases of hypertension. One where it is the main issue — primary hypertension — and two, where it is the result of other diseases — secondary hypertension. 

According to studies, 0.5% to 10% of dogs, ages two to fourteen, suffer from high blood pressure. 

What causes high blood pressure in dogs? 

The causes of primary hypertension are unknown, and research says it could be hereditary. 

Secondary hypertension, on the other hand, is more common and is caused by underlying diseases such as: 

  • Kidney disease
  • Cushing’s Disease
  • Renal disease
  • Obesity
  • Hormonal issues
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • Adrenal tumor

Are there breeds that are more prone to high blood pressure? 

Yes, some dog breeds are more likely to develop high blood pressure. This is because they are also vulnerable to diseases that can lead to hypertension. 

These are the dog breeds that have a higher risk of developing Cushing’s disease, making them more prone to high blood pressure: 

  • Dachshunds
  • Poodles
  • Terriers

Additionally, dog breeds more vulnerable to diabetes can result in high blood pressure. Breeds include: 

  • Schnauzers
  • Spitzes
  • Bichon frises
  • Australian terriers

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure in Dogs

In most cases, symptoms of high blood pressure in dogs are not noticeable, which makes it more risky. If unattended, it can damage the internal organs, cause kidney disease, or affect the brain and heart. 

Here are the common symptoms of hypertension in dogs: 

  • Seizures
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Nosebleeds, blood in the urine
  • Persistent dilated pupils
  • Depression
  • Blindness 

If your Shiba Inu displays any of the symptoms mentioned, immediately go to your veterinarian. Your vet will determine the condition and will take blood pressure tests. 

How do veterinarians measure your dog’s blood pressure? 

High blood pressure tests in dogs are similar to the human way of measuring. 

A vet will put on an inflatable cuff over your Shiba’s ankle and inflate the cuff. After deflating the device, the vet will use a stethoscope to listen and measure the sound of the blood pulsing. 

However, this is tricky as many dogs get nervous and stressed during vet appointments. This greatly affects the diagnosis. So most vets would do the checking process multiple times. 

There are also other methods, but each has its limitation and accuracy. 

Direct via arterial measurement is the most accurate but also the most invasive as it requires puncturing an artery. This is usually used on dogs in critical condition. 

How to treat your dog’s high blood pressure? 

Suppose the diagnosis is secondary hypertension (high blood pressure caused by another health issue). In that case, the underlying disease has to be treated for the blood pressure to stabilize back to normal levels. 

However, even when the underlying disease is controlled, there are instances where lifelong medication for high blood pressure is required. It could be a single medication, but if your dog’s response to medicines is slow, multiple drugs might be required. 

The goal of this treatment is to prevent organ damage. Furthermore, regular checkups and lab tests are required to see your pooch’s reaction to medication. 

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