Feline High Blood Pressure Can Be A Silent Killer
Six Things To Know About Feline Hypertension
Blood pressure in cats is measured with the systolic value (upper number) representing the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart is contracting and the diastolic value (lower number) representing the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart relaxes.
Many cats exhibit a stress-induced, temporary spike in blood pressure that can be due to the anxiety of being in the veterinarian’s office. That’s why many factors have to be considered when deciding whether a cat has high blood pressure. A systolic pressure of less than 170 millimeters of mercury suggests that a cat does not have hypertension. However, a systolic pressure of 178 in an anxious cat who sat in the waiting room with barking dogs may require a repeat evaluation on another day under low stress conditions to accurately diagnose hypertension.
Untreated high blood pressure can cause retinal hemorrhage leading to blindness, and impaired cardiac and kidney function, just as with humans.
Unlike in humans, cats rarely suffer high blood pressure without an underlying cause, which means another disease is causing the hypertension. The two most common are hyperthyroidism and chronic kidney disease.
Symptoms of hypertension may include the sudden onset of blindness or visual impairment, usually with constantly dilated pupils, increased thirst and urine output, breathing problems, anorexia, disorientation, seizures, or wobbly gait.
Fortunately, feline high blood pressure can be treated with medications. For easier administration to cats, and to improve compliance, some medications can be compounded into trans-dermal gels that can be applied to the hairless tip of the ear flap daily.
As you make your summer vacation plans, check with your kennel to see if they will be requiring the Canine Flu vaccine. Because of the time deadlines for Flu vaccination that several kennels have imposed, if your pet has had an examination at PSVC in the past six months and has no current medical problems, you can set up a Technician appointment to get the initial immunization and the boost injection two to four weeks later.
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