Your cat may also have high blood pressure: regular checks are important
Ferenczi Deborah, 2023. April 18 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary
High blood pressure is a relatively common and potentially serious threat to the health of cats. Generally speaking, hypertension develops in association with an underlying medical condition that disrupts the body's regulatory systems responsible for maintaining normal blood pressure. It is therefore important to treat not only the problem of hypertension but also the underlying disease.
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The most common underlying conditions include chronic kidney disease, hyperthyroidism and heart disease. However, in many cases it is not possible to immediately identify the underlying cause.
Clinical signs of high blood pressure in a cat
It is important to know that high blood pressure in a cat can easily cause damage to the animal’s blood vessels, organs and tissues. In cats with hypertension, the organs most at risk are the eyes, brain, kidneys and heart. Below is a list of factors that should be considered when measuring your pet’s blood pressure.
- Regular blood pressure measurements are recommended for animals over 7 years of age
- in case of kidney disease
- neurological symptoms (loss of coordination, brain reflexes, fainting, seizures)
- hormonal diseases (e.g. hyperthyroidism, Cushing’s disease, hyperaldosteronism)
- ophthalmological symptoms (dilated pupils, haemorrhages in the eyes)
Establishing the diagnosis
It is of course possible to diagnose hypertension by measuring blood pressure, but it is important to determine this after several cases, as the animal may be too stressed in the surgery and therefore have very high values. It is therefore advisable to take these measurements in an environment that is less stressful for the animal. Surprisingly, white coat syndrome is also very often found in animals. Cats’ blood pressure varies in a very similar way to humans. So 120/80 mmHg is normal for them, but usually up to 150/95 mmHg is acceptable because of the stress in the surgery. However, values above 180/120 mmHg are considered extremely high, in which case medication is necessary. Also a more comprehensive all-round test, as it is very likely that there is some underlying disease.
How can high blood pressure be treated?
Hypertension is basically treated with medication. However, as we have already stressed, it is essential that any underlying underlying conditions are also investigated. Unfortunately, until the real problem is properly diagnosed, high blood pressure cannot be properly treated. So, if you are experiencing this in your cat, make sure you take the time to have the animal thoroughly checked.