Just like us, our feline friends can suffer from high blood pressure. This is usually a condition of older cats and can occur on its own or secondary to other elderly cat diseases such as kidney failure and hyperthyroidism (an over active thyroid gland). Whatever the cause, the end result is a consistently high blood pressure or hypertension. Prolonged elevation of blood pressure can cause sudden blindness, bleeding into the eyeball, dilated pupils, kidney damage, nosebleeds and fitting.
Whilst high blood pressure can be measured using specialised machines, interpreting the results can sometimes be difficult. A syndrome known as “white coat hypertension” readily occurs in cats. The stress of cat carriers, car rides to the vet and being attached to a monitor and asked to stay still can raise a cat’s blood pressure to falsely high levels. Several readings are taken to ensure the most accurate result.
Treatment of hypertension involves treating any underlying disease and using drugs to help dilate the blood vessels. If your cat is placed on blood pressure medication by your vet, make sure you keep up with follow up checks, as the dose of medication often requires adjustment.