Low Blood Pressure in Dogs

Low blood pressure is also known as hypotension and may affect dogs. The condition may be caused by severe blood loss or may have no determined cause. The blood pressure may be measured by the vet, but if you suspect your pet may have low blood pressure, you should watch out for a few symptoms that indicate hypotension. Hypotension may be manageable with medication and by finding the underlying cause.

Causes of Hypotension in Dogs

Dog hypotension may be idiopathic, or have no known reason, but it may also be caused by a number of factors:

  • Trauma and blood loss
  • Lack of oxygen
  • Anemia and a poor diet
  • Kidney or liver dysfunctions
  • Thyroid hormone imbalance (hypothyroidism)
  • Heart problems; the incapacity of the heart to pump the required amount of blood to the organs and the tissues
  • Anaphylactic shock, which can be due to a severe allergic reaction to food, irritants or a bite and will constrict the respiratory ways of the pet
  • Severe dehydration (can be caused by chronic vomiting and diarrhea)

Symptoms of Low Blood Tension in Dogs

If the dog has low blood pressure, his vital organs will be deprived by the necessary oxygen and nutrients. The symptoms of the dog will reflect the lack of oxygen and nutrients.

A dog that is affected by low blood tension will be weaker and less active than usual. You should watch out for symptoms such as fainting or sudden collapse, vomiting, pale gums (and other mucous membranes which will be light pink or even close to white), frequent urination and increased thirst (due to dysfunctional kidneys), shallow and fast breathing, confusion or ataxia.

If the blood pressure is low but closer to normal, the dog may not display any symptoms.

Low Blood Pressure Diagnosis in Dogs

Low blood pressure may be diagnosed by measuring the blood pressure of the dog. The average normal value of canine blood pressure is 133/75 mmHg. However, the values may differ according to the breed, sex and age of the pet.

The vet will perform other tests to find if the condition is caused by an underlying disease. The vital organs will be checked, to ensure that there is no damage caused by the lack of oxygen and nutrients. In severe cases, the low blood pressure can lead to organ failure which can be fatal.

Hypotension Treatment and Management

The treatment of hypotension will depend greatly on the vet’s findings and the severity of the hypotension; if the vet finds that the dog has a heart condition, medication treatment should be administered immediately. The condition may require surgery or permanent medication treatment.

If the dog has lost significant amount of blood, he should get blood transfusions and IV fluids.

If the low blood pressure has no determined causes, the vet may not administer any medication but will monitor the evolution of the dog.