Posts Tagged ‘St. Francis Animal Hospital in Durham’

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

June 3, 2010

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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