May is Hypertension (Blood Pressure) Awareness Month
Get 50% off a blood pressure screening (with a paid exam) through May 2018.
Cats get high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, just like people do. In cats, hypertension is usually seen associated with kidney disease or hyperthyroidism. Left untreated, hypertension in cats can cause blindness, heart disease, or strokes.
How is Blood Pressure Measured in Cats?
We measure blood pressure with a special Doppler ultrasound blood pressure monitor (somewhat similar to what they use to check people’s carotid arteries) and a blood pressure cuff. We sometimes have to shave a small place above the foot or on the tail to apply the device.
Feline Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure in cats.
Causes of High Blood Pressure in Cats:
Hypertension occurs most commonly in older cats and is usually associated with another illness such as chronic renal failure (kidney disease) or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid).
Hyperthyroidism usually has a moderate effect on blood pressure, which can resolve with treatment of the thyroid condition. When kidney disease and hypertension are present together, the hypertension tends to be more severe and usually requires specific treatment. Sometimes, hyperthyroidism and kidney disease are both present, and this presents a special challenge for therapy.
Hypertension is very damaging to a cat’s body. High blood pressure causes small blood vessels to leak or even rupture. This is especially important in delicate tissues like the eye (leading to detached retina and blindness) or the brain (resulting in stroke = cerebral vascular accidents). Hypertension also increases wear and tear on the kidneys and the heart, compounding problems for cats with kidney or thyroid disease. Early detection is important to prevent these complications.