Taking a dog’s blood pressure? Start at the end

The indignity of it all, says Roxy

Poor Roxy, “the foxy doxy with moxy.” As if having her tail tampered with wasn’t bad enough, now I’ve got to go and post the photos online. She did tell me she’s happy to help in the name of science.

When my vet (St. Francis Animal Hospital in Durham) told me that the results from Roxy’s “senior checkup” indicated they should check her blood pressure, my first question was, how the heck do you check a dog’s blood pressure? While some online sites (and who can trust them?) recommend using the dog’s legs, the base of the tail is the best place for an accurate reading. Of course since dachshund’s legs are only a few inches long, that’s another reason to grab the tiger by the tail.

Vet techs Dianne Saladino holds the cuff around Roxy's tail while Paula Davis secures and comforts her

The equipment is similar to what is used for humans. The cuff that goes around the tail is infant-sized, but on my 15-year-old tekkel’s tiny tail it was still difficult to tighten. The listening device must be amplified because the pulse deflections are much harder to hear in dogs than in humans. (Did I get that right, vet techs?) It took a good ten minutes to get a reading. Tech Paula Davis held Roxy while her colleague Dianne Saladino operated the equipment. Meanwhile, Mom looked on, calming her baby girl when she wasn’t busy snapping photos.

Roxy’s blood pressure was a bit elevated, but now the vet isn’t sure if it’s because she was stressed or because she might have another problem. So I’m now to try to get a urine sample, which isn’t easy on a dog with low clearance. But fear not, there are other ways to collect, and, per Roxy’s request, I promise to not show any of them here. We all have our limits.

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4 Responses to “Taking a dog’s blood pressure? Start at the end”

  1. Pat Cate Says:

    Diane, Tess, also had to have her BP taken. The vet got right down on the floor and did it while I held Tess between my legs.

    Poor Tess, I do miss my “ball girl”.

  2. didaniel Says:

    Tess was the best! I miss our doxie picnics, large (yours) and small (mine).

  3. kathy Says:

    we took our poor weimeriner to the vet last night and he wanted 57 dollars to take her blood pressure and another 700 for tests after the original fee aren’t there any vets out there in fl who are not scam artists we couldn’t afford all that so we brought her home with no care and a ??? high bp renal failure or a brain tumor poor girl im going to try to take her bp today and we will start her on a renal diet

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