HYPERTENSION (HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE) IN CATS
REMEMBER THAT THIS IS A GUIDELINE TO BETTER UNDERSTAND HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE IN CATS, ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR VET
Manxi is blind from hypertension
Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. It's important to know that hypertension in cats is a relatively common but severe threat to the cat's health. If left untreated, it can cause serious illness and even death.
Blood pressure is measured in cats by the same method that is used in us humans. It can typically occur as a secondary disease to another illness like kidney failure and or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland). It's suggested that hypertension occurs in over 60% of cats with renal failure and about 90% of hyperthyroid cats. Less frequently, the condition can be linked to adrenal gland tumors. There are also cases of idiopathic hypertension (high blood pressure with no known cause) as well as rising blood pressure resulting from stressful situations like a trip to the vet for example.
Hypertension can result in damage to 4 major organs:
• Nervous system
• Cardiovascular system
Many cat owners aren't aware that cats can develop dangerously high blood pressure. Hypertension does major damage to a cat's body. It causes small blood vessels to leak and in some cases, rupture. The result can be a detached retina or a stroke. Hypertension also takes its toll on the heart and the kidneys, causing further problems for cats already suffering with poor kidney function or thyroid problems. Hypertension is more common in older cats. There aren't really any early warning signs of hypertension to look for but if you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, take your cat to the vet immediately. Similarly, if you are unsure about changes in your cat, take your cat to the vet. Symptoms to look out for can include:
• Loss of appetite
• Increased thirst and urination
• Weight loss
• Weight loss
• Dull coat
• Blood in the urine
• Bleeding from the nose
• Swollen kidneys
• Heart murmur
• Weakness in the legs
If your cat has regular check-ups, your vet might notice a difference in the heart or eyes during examination, and this should prompt a blood pressure check. Make sure your cat has regular vet visits, especially if your cat is older.
If a cat's blood pressure goes unchecked, the most common and eventual symptom will be sudden acute blindness. Blood vessels in the eye will burst causing the retina to detach. Signs will be dilated pupils, disorientation and an unwillingness to move around. Less commonly, hypertension can cause bleeding in the brain. Symptoms of this could include head tilting, difficulty walking, disorientation, and seizures. These symptoms in your cat is a medical emergency requiring immediate vet attention.
Diagnosis of high blood pressure is when your vet takes your cat's blood pressure using a cuff placed on any leg or the tail. This procedure is painless, but if your cat is stressed, this can alter the reading. If this is the case with your cat, it's helpful to sit with your cat and soothe them until they are more relaxed. Several readings may need to be taken to obtain and accurate reading.
Treatment of Hypertension
|Jewell - Blind from hypertension|
Some additional suggestions to manage and treat hypertension include:
• Consulting a holistic vet who can help you design an appropriate diet to meet the special nutritional requirements of your cat. Proper nutrition will also help to address any underlying disease.
• If your cat is overweight, it's important to get those extra pounds off. Obesity causes high blood pressure and heart problems just as it does in us humans.
• Maintain consistency in your cats environment and routine. Cats can get highly stressed by changes, so cats who are already dealing with health problems need a calm environment.
• Medication could be introduced to reduce blood pressure, and your vet may recommend a low-sodium diet.
High blood pressure in cats can be managed to a certain extent with anti-hypertensive drugs.
If hyperthyroidism is identified as the underlying cause of hypertension, treatment of the over-riding problem may also resolve the high blood pressure
It is often advised to feed a cat that has been diagnosed with hypertension on a low salt diet, avoiding ‘treats’ as these often have a high salt content. Most cats can still be fed regular cat food (and you should check the label and choose one with a lower salt content), although cats with chronic kidney failure will probably benefit from a special diet, usually available from your Vet, where protein and phosphate are restricted
These are all guidelines and suggestions for managing high blood pressure, and you should always consult your vet and take their advice about how to better manage your cat's health needs.
Blood pressure should be regularly monitored by a vet. Close monitoring is vital. Cats can live a relatively normal quality of life with the proper treatment. It's important to remember that you should never ignore any changes in your cat. Get them help immediately. You could be saving their life.