The Animal Doctor by Dr. Michael W. Fox

Blood Pressure in Dogs and Cats

DEAR DR. FOX: I have a general question about dogs.

When you or I go to see our doctor, the first thing done is to have your blood pressure taken. So, do dogs suffer from high blood pressure?

In all the times I have taken my dog to a vet, blood pressure is never mentioned nor taken in any way. I am just curious, and would like to see your response. -- L.J., Danbury, Connecticut

DEAR L.J.: I am glad that you asked because, especially with human medicine and the rising costs of general health care, one should be aware of which tests are necessary and which are frivolous or merely profit-driven. Taking cats’ and dogs’ blood pressures is a relatively recent addition to the general wellness examination. As with humans, taking animals’ blood pressure can give valuable information, especially for older animals, which could save their lives.

Both cats and dogs can have heart attacks and strokes with high blood pressure -- often associated with chronic kidney disease, for instance -- and both species respond well to the kinds of medicines used in human patients to help control blood pressure. Low-salt diets are important for all species with hypertension.

DEAR DR. FOX: Thank you for your recent article about vaccinations.

In 2016, my dog Reilly had a rabies shot; seven days later, he was hospitalized. 2019 comes along; I vaccinate him again, and he is in the hospital again. The doctor said it was not from the vaccination.

I was up for three nights. Reilly would not eat, and drank very little water. I took him to the vet and they gave him some liquid under the skin. That did not work, so instead of paying $1,600 for a one-night stay at an animal hospital, the vet said he could do it at his office overnight for half that.

It was 2 a.m. when I was reading your article, and it confirmed that I was not crazy. I wish you lived near here to help Reilly; you are so open-minded when it comes to the truth.

Thank you again and I hope Reilly makes it this time. -- P.F., Brick, New Jersey

DEAR P.F.: I am disgusted by the response of the veterinarian to your dog’s obvious adverse reaction to the anti-rabies vaccination. You should file a complaint with the state’s Veterinary Board of Examiners and the Better Business Bureau. This veterinarian should at least return all money you have paid out, and read the article posted on my website (drfoxonehealth.com) concerning the risks of vaccinations.

In principle, I am not opposed to vaccinations. But when animals (and humans) have adverse reactions, subsequent revaccination should be questioned. You should find a holistic veterinarian in your area: Go to ahvma.org to locate one who might be willing to provide you with a vaccination waiver indicating that your dog is at risk from the anti-rabies vaccination. A blood titer could be taken to add weight to this document, since your dog may not actually need to be revaccinated if the prior vaccination is providing adequate protection.

(Send all mail to animaldocfox@gmail.com or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.

Visit Dr. Fox’s website at DrFoxOneHealth.com.)