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Blood pressure, which is measured as the heart contracts and relaxes, is the force that blood exerts against the walls of arteries. Its increase may be due to cardiac output or to resistance in blood vessels. Blood pressure measurement is an important test, especially in animals who are predisposed to other diseases.
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The examination is performed using an ultrasonic Doppler. Thanks to this method, we can evaluate blood flow as a change in the frequency of reflected sounds, related to the movement of red blood cells. This measurement is usually performed on the animal's forelimb or tail, but it can also be performed on its hind legs. Your veterinarian may need to shave or moisten a small section of your pet's hair. After locating the pulse with a small ultrasound head, the cuff is inflated with air and then deflated slowly, noting the pressure in the meantime. Several measurements are required for each patient. Normal systolic blood pressure should not exceed 160 mmHg in dogs and 120 mmHg in cats, while diastolic blood pressure should not exceed 100 mmHg in dogs and 90 mmHg in cats.
Blood pressure measurement should also be performed in patients undergoing general anesthesia and in all animals over 8 years of age. We strongly recommend testing in patients with systemic diseases such as: renal failure, hyperthyroidism, hyperadrenocorticism, phaeochromocytoma, and diabetes.
Young, healthy animals should have their blood pressure tested at least once every 12 months. In healthy geriatric patients (over 8 years of age), blood pressure measurement should be performed once every 6 months. In patients with symptoms of hypertension or predisposed to its development (e.g. patients with chronic kidney disease), blood pressure measurement should be performed at the diagnosis stage. Control measurements in this group of patients should be performed every 3 months.
The price range for a blood pressure check is 30–60 PLN. Each veterinary facility sets its own prices, and it is worth asking about the cost service before the visit.
The length of a single measurement is the same as when measuring a person's blood pressure. In order to obtain reliable results, several measurements are most often performed during one visit. The total duration of the test is approximately 10–15 minutes. If the pet is calm and cooperative, the testing time is usually shorter.
Blood pressure measurement in animals does not require any special preparation. In order to minimize stress, this test is most often performed at the beginning of the visit. The first step is to calm the animal down and put it in a comfortable position. The pressure is measured on the forelimb, hind limb, or tail, on which a properly fitted cuff is placed. It is very important to provide the most optimal environment for the measurement. The patient should spend 10-15 minutes in the office before starting the examination.
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