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Old 12-26-2020, 12:39 PM   #1
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Default Taking Blood Pressure at home?

Greetings YTers

Does anyone have experience - and success - monitoring your Yorkies blood pressure at home? If so, will you please comment or PM me with any information and input?

Background -- Remy is now 12, his birthday was in August.

He was diagnosed with a heart murmur in November. The murmur is a grade 3, and is on the left side. His x-rays show an enlarged heart. We went to UC Davis last week and they did an echocardiogram, confirming he has mitral valve disease (MMVD).

At this point he has not progressed to congestive heart failure and our goal is to slow down the progression of the valve disease to forestall congestive heart failure (water building up in his lungs) as long as possible.

His blood pressure did test quite high, both at my local vet and at UC Davis. Due to COVID I was not able to be with him in either location which greatly increased his stress so it is unclear what his "resting" blood pressure may be.

UC Davis did prescribe two meds - amlodipine (for blood pressure) and benazepril. He was on them for 48 hours and suffered a strange occurrence where he collapsed and had trouble getting back to his feet. I called UC Davis and they suggested to stop the meds (which I had already determined I was going to do). He has been fine since. UC Davis would like me to restart just the Benazapril this week. This is to benefit his heart and it will also have some impact to lower his blood pressure. I will try it Monday and see how he tolerates it. I am also monitoring his breathing rate daily, using a great app called Cardalis to keep track of his stats.

All in all, I think I have tackled this pretty well and despite the unfortunate and sad situation that this is a progressive disease for which there is no cure I feel like we are giving him the best chance to slow it down.

My question about taking blood pressure at home is the one missing link. If I could get a better sense of his true resting blood pressure it would be enormously helpful. Does anyone have experience taking blood pressure at home? From what I was reading I could get a neo-natal blood pressure cuff... but am unsure if this will be successful. Would GREATLY appreciate any input or feedback.

Many thanks
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Old 12-26-2020, 01:47 PM   #2
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That’s an interesting question. I’ve had numerous medical foster dogs and cats, but I’ve never even thought about taking a blood pressure reading at home. I did a quick google search, and there are numerous blood pressure monitors on the market for home use, even monitors for dogs and cats. This one, for example:

https://www.amazon.com/CONTEC08A-VET...ag=googhydr-20

That’s just an example, I don’t know anything about the specific product. However, if one cuff size is appropriate for a cat, it would probably fit a yorkie. There would probably be some training involved, but it could be worth the effort.

Good luck with your little one. Please keep us posted.
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Old 12-26-2020, 01:57 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply and the product link. I have been googling and checking out various products on Amazon... will add this one to the list for consideration!
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Old 12-28-2020, 04:37 AM   #4
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Update on Remy...he has had another episode of vomiting tonight after which he lost his balance. Frustrating and upsetting. He has not had the heart meds - amlodipine and benazipril - in over 4 days so those should be out of his system. I had an anti vomiting medicine on hand which I just gave him to try and calm things down. What to do? I can go to the ER vet ...but this would be his third vet visit in less than two weeks and each visit gets him increasingly upset and stressed. My inclination is to try to settle him down at home and watch him over the next day or so. Very upsetting
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Old 12-28-2020, 08:01 AM   #5
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No, I don't believe you can take it yourself. If the vets felt the reading was off because of you not being there, they could make arrangements for a reading with you present.

So sorry your pup is ill....sounds like he is getting great care!
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Old 12-28-2020, 08:06 AM   #6
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Please call your vet and ask this question. I have had numerous pups over the years who had elevated B/P due to medical conditions and it was not ever mentioned that I should monitor at home.
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Old 12-28-2020, 08:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RemydeHaviland View Post
Update on Remy...he has had another episode of vomiting tonight after which he lost his balance. Frustrating and upsetting. He has not had the heart meds - amlodipine and benazipril - in over 4 days so those should be out of his system. I had an anti vomiting medicine on hand which I just gave him to try and calm things down. What to do? I can go to the ER vet ...but this would be his third vet visit in less than two weeks and each visit gets him increasingly upset and stressed. My inclination is to try to settle him down at home and watch him over the next day or so. Very upsetting
Somehow I missed this post. I am assuming he has a general vet....can you just call and ask for the vet to call you? I do that a lot since my pups are seen on a regular basis and many times my vet can advise on the phone and add meds if needed.
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Old 12-28-2020, 08:49 AM   #8
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Responding to a several of the above comments - with COVID neither his regular vet nor UC Davis will allow me into the office. CA is under stay at home orders which may be part of the issue. our regular vet said they had to literally hold him down. He was terribly stressed and under duress. BP reading ranged from 180 to 210. At UC Davis they got a reading of 150 but again he was being held down. Just so frustrating .... I am monitoring his heart rate daily which I was told is an early warning sign of disease progression. Since he seems to not tolerate the heart meds my instincts are his BP is not truly as high as the readings indicate. Hence my interest to try to do it at home where he is relaxed. I was even looking into a vet that does house calls but right now that is not a possibility given COVID.

Regarding the vomiting ... Yes he does have a regular vet. I will call them today but both nick and I think taking him into the vet yet again will add to his stress and historically stress for him leads to gastroenteritis (which he does have a history of). Will see if they will prescribe over the phone.

So horribly frustrating .... trying to give him the best care but it seems like it is making the situation worse.
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Old 12-28-2020, 01:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RemydeHaviland View Post
Responding to a several of the above comments - with COVID neither his regular vet nor UC Davis will allow me into the office. CA is under stay at home orders which may be part of the issue. our regular vet said they had to literally hold him down. He was terribly stressed and under duress. BP reading ranged from 180 to 210. At UC Davis they got a reading of 150 but again he was being held down. Just so frustrating .... I am monitoring his heart rate daily which I was told is an early warning sign of disease progression. Since he seems to not tolerate the heart meds my instincts are his BP is not truly as high as the readings indicate. Hence my interest to try to do it at home where he is relaxed. I was even looking into a vet that does house calls but right now that is not a possibility given COVID.

Regarding the vomiting ... Yes he does have a regular vet. I will call them today but both nick and I think taking him into the vet yet again will add to his stress and historically stress for him leads to gastroenteritis (which he does have a history of). Will see if they will prescribe over the phone.

So horribly frustrating .... trying to give him the best care but it seems like it is making the situation worse.
I am so sorry.
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Old 12-28-2020, 03:19 PM   #10
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Thank you. Just need an outlet to vent and was hopeful someone would have had some experience with home BP readings.

Today turned out to be a pretty good day. Remy slept alot. The Cerenia tablet (anti-vomiting) which I had on hand seems to have worked. No more vomiting. He would not eat his regular food but I cooked him a fresh sweet potato and he enjoyed three servings spread over several hours and it all stayed down. He wants to play and is drinking water on his own.

For now, I am happy with where things stand. Perhaps the heart meds were still in his system and impacting things. I have never seen him fall down / loose his footing before and these heart meds were the only new variable.

If they lowered his BP too much that would certainly make him faint / loose his balance and make his sick to his stomach.

I am happy we did all the diagnostics so we thoroughly understand his heart situation. Too bad that what is *supposed* to help created an adverse reaction. UC Davis is the best so I don't question their counsel, it is either just a bad fit for him or the BP numbers were artificially overstated due to stress.

I think my best course of treatment is to keep him quiet, keep his exercise light (not to panting - as per vet advice), keep him off the prescribed heart meds, and continue to monitor his heart rate for disease progression.

Prior to the diagnosis of the heart murmur in Nov he had (and still) has absolutely NO visible symptoms that anything is wrong. He has been a perky, active 12 year old that many think is a puppy when they meet him.

So, I hope the disease progresses slowly and that we do not get to congestive heart failure anytime soon. Hoping, praying, and keeping fingers crossed we have our little love bug for several more years.

For anyone needing to monitor heart rate the app I am using is Cardalis (downloading via App store and free). incredibly useful.
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Old 12-28-2020, 05:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RemydeHaviland View Post
Thank you. Just need an outlet to vent and was hopeful someone would have had some experience with home BP readings.

Today turned out to be a pretty good day. Remy slept alot. The Cerenia tablet (anti-vomiting) which I had on hand seems to have worked. No more vomiting. He would not eat his regular food but I cooked him a fresh sweet potato and he enjoyed three servings spread over several hours and it all stayed down. He wants to play and is drinking water on his own.

For now, I am happy with where things stand. Perhaps the heart meds were still in his system and impacting things. I have never seen him fall down / loose his footing before and these heart meds were the only new variable.

If they lowered his BP too much that would certainly make him faint / loose his balance and make his sick to his stomach.

I am happy we did all the diagnostics so we thoroughly understand his heart situation. Too bad that what is *supposed* to help created an adverse reaction. UC Davis is the best so I don't question their counsel, it is either just a bad fit for him or the BP numbers were artificially overstated due to stress.

I think my best course of treatment is to keep him quiet, keep his exercise light (not to panting - as per vet advice), keep him off the prescribed heart meds, and continue to monitor his heart rate for disease progression.

Prior to the diagnosis of the heart murmur in Nov he had (and still) has absolutely NO visible symptoms that anything is wrong. He has been a perky, active 12 year old that many think is a puppy when they meet him.

So, I hope the disease progresses slowly and that we do not get to congestive heart failure anytime soon. Hoping, praying, and keeping fingers crossed we have our little love bug for several more years.

For anyone needing to monitor heart rate the app I am using is Cardalis (downloading via App store and free). incredibly useful.
I totally understand. It is SO very hard to have sick pups. Remy is lucky to be so loved!
I am happy to hear he had a better day.
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Old 01-06-2021, 03:58 PM   #12
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I have had a similar issue with Thumper regarding his BP. His is high and he also gets nervous att the vet's office so it its hard to get an accurate reading. Additionally, like you I am not able to be with him due to Covid. I would love to find something at home so I can monitor him.

My regular vet has done the following and though it is not perfect it does calm him down

1. Appt is same time in the morning
2. If going there for his ACTH test or other procedure that take a while will do the BP at the end of the exam so he has a chance to calm down
3. Will have the cuff on him for about 10 minutes to allow him to get use to the machine.
4. Vet tech stays with him for the 10 minutes petting him to try and keep him calm

Please let me know if you find any BP machine for home. None of my own research found anything.
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Old 01-31-2021, 12:14 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by aweitzm1 View Post
I have had a similar issue with Thumper regarding his BP. His is high and he also gets nervous att the vet's office so it its hard to get an accurate reading. Additionally, like you I am not able to be with him due to Covid. I would love to find something at home so I can monitor him.

My regular vet has done the following and though it is not perfect it does calm him down

1. Appt is same time in the morning
2. If going there for his ACTH test or other procedure that take a while will do the BP at the end of the exam so he has a chance to calm down
3. Will have the cuff on him for about 10 minutes to allow him to get use to the machine.
4. Vet tech stays with him for the 10 minutes petting him to try and keep him calm

Please let me know if you find any BP machine for home. None of my own research found anything.
Thanks very much for the input. I have been away from the board for a bit and just checked in and saw your response. Your process makes a lot of sense -- keeping the same appointment time and doing other procedures first to get him to calm down. I hope your pup is doing well.

The short answer to the question is no I have not gotten any type of BP machine for home use. I continue to monitor is breathing and heart rate daily. Which when he is sound asleep is 18/20 beats per minute which is really good. Post exercise we are in the high 20s which is as expected.

I did re-start Remy on the Benazepril which helps to open the blood vessels allowing the heart to work "easier" and it will have a benefit of lowering the blood pressure. I halved the dosage prescribed and he has been on it for a week, well tolerated. All in all he is doing well. No behavioral changes if anything he seems more energetic None of the side effects I noted in my posts earlier / above.

I ultimately have no idea of his current blood pressure. Here in CA stay at home orders are being lifted so in the next few weeks I may try to get him into his regular vet for a urine test (needed for this heart medicine) and try to do a BP at that time. Hopefully I will be able to go into the vet office with him....
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