Cats just like humans can get hypertension (high blood pressure). However, for most cats hypertension is secondary to an underlying disease rather than the stress and pressure of everyday life. Diseases of the kidney, thyroid and heart disease are more likely to be the cause of hypertension in cats.
What are the signs of high blood pressure?
Similar to thousands of Australian human patients many cats go about life undiagnosed until external signs of the associated illness are observed. Some of the things a cat owner may notice:-
Blood in the eye
Blindness (bumping into furniture and objects)
Instability (lack of balance and generally wobbly)
How is high blood pressure diagnosed?
If your cat is showing signs of high blood pressure, is a senior cat, has chronic renal failure (kidney disease), hyperthyroidism or heart disease there is an increased chance they will also suffer from hypertension. In any of these cases your veterinarian may recommend a blood pressure test.
Similar to humans blood pressure is measured with a device that can detect blood flow in arteries. Obviously, cats have very small arteries when compared to those of humans and consequently we use specific equipment designed for pets.
The test itself is pain free and non invasive and involves placing an inflatable cuff around a cat's leg or tail and taking a series of readings. For the best result it is ideal to perform the test whilst your cat is as quiet and comfortable as possible. For most, this can be done whilst they are awake and it only takes a few minutes.
What happens if your cat has high blood pressure?
Every cat is different depending on the results of their tests and examination. Your veterinarian will discuss a specific treatment plan for your cat which is likely to include:-
Medication to reduce high blood pressure
Further testing to find an underlying disease
Treatment and management of the underlying disease