Around ten years ago, the topic of pulmonary hypertension in dogs was not much common. People did not even realize that it exists and should be given much attention. However, with time, things have changed. The number of patients being diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension is increasing.
Therefore, we think that we need to talk more about it. In this article, we will clear your every doubt regarding pulmonary hypertension in dogs. We will discuss its definition, symptoms, treatment and will cover various other aspects as well. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
What is Pulmonary Hypertension in Dogs?
Pulmonary hypertension is basically a pathophysiological and hemodynamic condition. Due to this condition, there is an increase in the average pulmonary arterial pressure by more than 25 mmHg at rest. In a nutshell, it is an abnormally increased pressure within the pulmonary vasculature or arteries.
Pulmonary hypertension in dogs refers to high blood pressure in the capillaries and arteries located in their lungs. There are multiple reasons this condition can develop.
One of the reasons can be that the amount of blood that flows from the heart to the lungs exceeds the capacity of the arteries and the volume it can handle.
Blockage of the pulmonary artery and narrowing of the capillaries and arteries are a few other reasons as well.
These issues all together lead to the enlargement of the heart and congestive heart failure of dogs. Not just that, but all this can also result in less oxygenated blood flowing to the rest of the body, particularly to the lungs.
What Causes Pulmonary Hypertension in Dogs
Various diseases can cause pulmonary hypertension in dogs, and the most common and general ones are all types of lung and heart diseases.
In addition, adrenal disorders, inflamed pancreas, and kidney diseases can also cause pulmonary hypertension to develop in dogs.
However, the list of causes does not end here. Illnesses such as certain types of cancers, pneumonia, and bronchitis are also considered one of the leading causes of pulmonary hypertension in dogs.
Along with these diseases, heartworms are also a major cause of canine pulmonary. In reality, there are numerous diseases and illnesses that can cause the issue of high blood pressure in your dog’s lungs.
If you realize that your dog is not feeling well or is showing some symptoms of this condition, it is essential to promptly contact your veterinarian. He will be able to perform a complete examination of your dog and determine the main cause of the health issue. Also, he will be able to provide proper treatment that will help your little friend overcome the condition.
Symptoms & Signs of Pulmonary Hypertension in Dogs
Even though there are many symptoms of pulmonary hypertension in dogs, it can take some time before these symptoms can appear. As a result, your dog may be suffering from the condition and living without any sufficient supply of oxygen for some time. There is no denying that this can prove to be extremely dangerous and deadly.
As we said, it is very difficult to spot the signs at an initial stage. However, as soon as your dog shows the symptoms, it goes without saying that you need to get in touch with your vet immediately. Your prompt actions can save your dog and can stop his condition from deteriorating.
Below, are a few of the common symptoms of canine pulmonary hypertension:
- Rapid breathing
- Struggle and difficulty to breath
- Extreme fatigue
- Spitting up blood
- Blue or purple-tinged gums or skin
- Low energy levels
- Sudden or unexpected weight loss
- Refuses and is unwilling to engage in physical activity
- Heart murmur
- Distended neck veins
- An enlarged abdomen
Treating Pulmonary Hypertension
Your dog will surely find it difficult to breathe due to pulmonary hypertension. Therefore, he may be required to be placed on oxygen therapy and may also be hospitalized overnight. In order to open up the passage for breathing, certain medication may be provided to your dog. It will reduce his difficulty of breathing.
In certain cases, dogs are given a diuretic to remove excess fluid from the lungs. Moreover, your dog may also be at risk of congestive heart failure due to pulmonary hypertension. In that scenario, particular medications may be provided to your dog.
Medications Used for Treatment
There are various medications used for dogs to treat pulmonary hypertension. A few of these medications include imatinib (Glivec®), pimobendan (Vetmedin®), tadalafil (Cialis®), and sildenafil (Viagra®). Make sure to only use these medications if they are prescribed by your vet.
Moreover, if you are not sure how to use these, you can ask your vet to guide you. Remember to be very careful when giving any type of medication to your dog.
Treatment at Home
You need to take a few things into account when you start treating your dog at home. The first thing you need to do is to create a stress-free environment for your dog. Also, you need to make sure your dog is resting comfortably in a calm and quiet area.
You need to keep your dog protected from factors inhibiting breathing difficulties, irritation of the lungs and stress created as a result. These may include smoke of cigarettes, cold air, and extreme heat.
In addition, as we mentioned before, your dog may be given a diuretic. Therefore, on diuretics, he may feel an urge to urinate on a frequent basis. It will help if you plan to take him out more often so that he can easily and conveniently urinate.
Even though pulmonary hypertension in dogs is a serious illness, your love and proper care can help your dog successfully work through the condition.
In such a serious health situation all your little canine friend needs is appropriate treatment and attention.