Measuring blood pressure in small animal patients
Published on April 30, 2019 51 min
A selection of talks on Clinical Practice
So, my talk today will be on measuring blood pressure in small animal patients. My name is Anthony Carr, I'm a Veterinarian and a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in small animal medicine. I'm also a Professor at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. We're going to try to cover today are a variety of issues that are related to the measurement of blood pressure.
The questions we want to ask ourselves with regards to measuring blood pressure in small animals is, first and foremost, are there any medical indications to measure blood pressure? We're also going to discuss the various technologies that are available to us to measure blood pressure in small animals. We're going to talk a little bit about, first off, the accuracy of these methods, and secondly also, whether or not these methods are really amenable to being used in practice. Then, lastly, we're going to talk about the technical aspects of actually measuring blood pressure in our patients, specifically trying to optimize our techniques to achieve results that are the most believable.
With regards to the medical indications to measure blood pressure in small animal patients, this cat is a perfect example of a cat that needs to have its blood pressure measured. If we look at it, we can see the pupil is maximally dilated, and we can actually see the retina billowing up at us, and we can see the retinal vessels, which you should never be able to see in regular circumstances. This is a very nice example of a cat with bilateral retinal detachments. There is predominantly one differential for this in cats and that's high blood pressure. But, it isn't the only differential, which means that we do need to measure blood pressure to confirm whether this cat is hypertensive or not. The question arises, when should we measure blood pressure? There are a variety of indications. One indication is a cat like this, which is that any older cat should have their blood pressure routinely screened. In fact, the American Association of Healing Practitioners recommends that cats have their blood pressure measured twice a year, once they're considered to be senior and geriatric. Although we generally consider primary or idiopathic hypertension to be quite rare in cats, a recent study did show that approximately 18 percent of cats that are greater than nine years of age were hypertensive without known risk factors for hypertension. Now, some of these cats probably had elevated blood pressures as a result of stress, but some of them could very well have had idiopathic hypertension.