You are here:

Ask the Veterinarian/Severe Pulmonary Hypertension


QUESTION: Hi.  My 12 y/o Male Shih Tzu was just diagnosed with severe pulmonary hypertension. He was admitted to Vet Hospital yesterday am. He was put on oxygen therapy. They called this morning to say he is responding well to the meds & they are weaning him off the oxygen. He is eating, drinking, & going to the bathroom normally.  The only signs he showed were a few days ago his breathing was short & rapid. He doesn't have blue gums. No passing out. His energy is overall pretty good.

My question is...If he responds well to the it possible for him to liver a couple of years longer?  I know he can have sudden death & I know there is no way of knowing that, however, is it possible for him to live on the meds with this?...Have you heard of dogs living with severe pulmonary hypertension for a couple of years?

ANSWER: Hi stephanie,

Pulmonary hypertension in humans is typically due to an abnormal congenitally formed arrangement of the blood vessels in the lungs (pulmonary vasculature), but with dogs, the current medical findings show that they only develop secondary pulmonary hypertension, that is, hypertension in the lungs due to an underlying disease.Medicines will be prescribed by your veterinarian in accordance with the underlying disease diagnosis.Hope presence of heart worms has been looked into.

Many times the prognosis for secondary  pulmonary hypertension is guarded at best. If the disease cannot be resolved, treatment can serve to make your dog more comfortable, but is not curative. If heart failure is diagnosed, your veterinarian will probably prescribe a restricted sodium diet for your dog. Otherwise, to encourage the best conditions for your dog, try to avoid environments that may place undue physical pressure on the dog, such as excessively cold or dry air, excessive heat, second-hand smoke, and high altitudes.

Hope this helps.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Heart worm test negative. Lyme Disease negative. Lab work all good. No one said anything about any underlying disease.  He has allergies and dry eyes. We give him Benadryl & gel liquid eye drops. He is taking 2 different medications now for the pulmonary hypertension. He was also diagnosed with an enlarged liver. No treatment for that is being done per his vet.

Pulmonary hypertension is separated into primary and secondary cases. Primary pulmonary hypertension cases are those without a known etiology and are considered rare in the dogs.

Secondary pulmonary hypertension in humans is a common sequela of chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease, and in dogs, it can be caused by bronchiectasis, emphysema, infiltrative pulmonary diseases, chronic pulmonary embolism, and left heart failure.

There are reports of humans developing bronchiectasis and also enlarged liver as an adverse effect to the use of Benadryl, along with many other side effects.But these side effects are part and parcel of many other drugs also.  I am not sure about this in your dogs case,may be your vet is in a better position to explain this.  

Ask the Veterinarian

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Dr S Bindu Anand


Large and Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, Farm Management,Preventive medicine


A Senior Veterinary Surgeon with more than 25 years’ experience in the field of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry. Mixed animal Practice that will utilize my skills in medicine and surgery, public health, client relations, and developing relationships within the community, such as humane society

Veterinary Consultant with Department of Animal Resources,Ministry of Environment,State of Qatar (Present). Animal Husbandry Department, Government of Kerala, India. Oakland's Park, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. Severnside Veterinary Center, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. Saud Bahwan Group, Sultanate of Oman. Trivandrum Regional Co-operative Milk Producers Union,Kerala,India.

BVSc & AH (Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry) 1990. College of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Mannuthy, Thrissur, Kerala, India under Kerala Agricultural University. Certificates Of Accomplishments- Equine Nutrition- University of Edinburgh Principles of Public Health-University of California, Irvine. AIDS- Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. General Environmental Health – EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Food Protection-EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Zoonoses:University of Minnesota-School of Public Health online. Food Safety:University of Minnesota-School of Public Health online. Occupational Safety and Health-EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Rabies Educator Certified -Global Alliance for Rabies Control. Animal Handler & Vaccinator Educator Certified -Global Alliance for Rabies Control. Wildlife Conservation-United for Wildlife. Health Promotion & Disease Prevention-Boston University School of Public Health. Bioterrorism, Bioterrorism Preparedness-EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Good Clinical Practice-London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

©2017 All rights reserved.