• Open Access

Blood Pressure, Heart Rate, and Urinary Catecholamines in Healthy Dogs Subjected to Different Clinical Settings


  • Presented in part at the 20th European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine – Companion Animal Congress, Toulouse, France, September 2010 and at the 2012 American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Forum, New Orleans, LA, USA, June 2012

Corresponding author: Dr. Höglund, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7011, 75007 Uppsala, Sweden. E-mail: Katja.Hoglund@slu.se.



Correct interpretation of blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) recordings is important in a clinical environment, but little is known about effects of stress on BP and HR responses of dogs to different clinical settings.


To investigate BP and HR responses in different clinical settings in dogs of 3 breeds, and to relate findings to urinary catecholamine concentrations measured by ELISA assays previously validated for use in human plasma and urine, after validation for use in dogs.


Client-owned healthy dogs; 41 Labrador Retrievers, 33 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (CKCS), and 15 Dachshunds.


Prospective observational study. BP and HR were measured in 4 clinical settings with or without veterinarian and owner present. Urine samples were taken before and after examination. ELISA assays were validated for canine urine, and epinephrine/creatinine and norepinephrine/creatinine ratios were analyzed.


BP and HR were higher when measured by veterinarian alone than when owner was present (< .020). Urinary catecholamine/creatinine ratios were higher after examination, compared with before, in all dogs (< .0001). Labrador Retrievers had lower diastolic BP than Dachshunds in 2 settings ( .041), lower HR than CKCSs in 3 settings (all < .0001), and lower catecholamine/creatinine ratios after examination than both other breeds ( .035). The in-house validation showed mean spiked recovery of 96.5% for epinephrine and 83.8% for norepinephrine.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance

BP and HR responses were related to breed as well as clinical setting. Breed differences were detected in urinary catecholamine/creatinine ratios. Further studies on breed differences are warranted.