Just Ask the Expert: What blood pressure values should I be concerned about?
Dr. Garcia welcomes internal medicine questions from veterinarians and veterinary technicians.
References vary regarding normal canine and feline blood pressure values obtained in the hospital. What numbers do you use?
The oscillometric and Doppler-ultrasonic methods are commonly used to indirectly measure blood pressure in a veterinary practice.
The device detects oscillations in the blood vessel wall during occlusion with an inflatable cuff, and the point of maximal oscillation is recorded as the mean arterial pressure (MAP). Systolic and diastolic values are then calculated from the MAP. This method tends to be more accurate in dogs than it is in cats.2
Blood flow is detected by using a piezoelectric crystal, and the peripheral vessel is occluded by using an inflatable cuff. The systolic pressure is read as the level at which the signal is heard again once the cuff is deflated. It is considered to be the most accurate method to use in conscious cats.3
TIPS FOR CONSISTENT MEASUREMENTS
To obtain reliable and repeatable blood pressure measurements with either method, multiple factors must be considered.
1. Bodey AR, Michell AR. Epidemiological study of blood pressure in domestic dogs. J Small Anim Pract 1996;37:116-125.
2. Acierno MJ, Seaton D, Mitchell MA, et al. Agreement between directly measured blood pressure and pressures obtained with three veterinary-specific oscillometric units in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2010;237(4):402-406.
3. Jepson RE, Hartley V, Mendl M, et al. A comparison of CAT Doppler and oscillometric Memoprint machines for non-invasive blood pressure measurement in conscious cats. J Feline Med Surg 2005;7(3):147-152.
4. Stepien, RL. Diagnostic blood pressure measurement. In: Ettinger S, Feldman E, eds. Textbook of veterinary internal medicine. 7th ed. St. Louis, Mo.: Saunders, 2010;398-402.