Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a common problem in cats, especially those that are aging. It can lead to serious health problems if not detected and treated in time. 

In this blog, we will discuss what hypertension is, its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

What is Hypertension in Cats?

Hypertension is defined as a persistently high blood pressure, typically above 160 mm Hg systolic. Normal blood pressure for a cat ranges from 110 to 160 mm Hg systolic. The systolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats, while the diastolic pressure is the pressure between beats.

Causes of Hypertension in Cats

There are several factors that can contribute to hypertension in cats, including:

  • Kidney Disease: Chronic kidney disease is one of the most common causes of hypertension in cats
  • Hyperthyroidism: An overactive thyroid gland can increase a cat’s blood pressure
  • Heart Disease: Some types of heart disease can also cause hypertension
  • Certain Medications: Some medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can increase a cat’s blood pressure.
  • Obesity: Overweight cats are more likely to develop hypertension.

Symptoms of Hypertension in Cats

Hypertension in cats can be difficult to detect because it doesn’t usually show any obvious symptoms. However, there can be some signs including:

  • Changes in vision, such as a loss of vision in one or both eyes.
  • Head tilt or nystagmus (uncontrolled eye movement).
  • Seizures.
  • Weakness or collapse.
  • Increased drinking and urination.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Hypertension in Cats

If your cat is showing any of the above symptoms then you should bring them in for a check-up, but we also advise regular checks for senior cats, those on certain medication such as long-term pain relief. If they’ve been previously diagnosed with kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, or some other issues we will want to keep a careful eye on their progress so will ask you to bring them in for regular assessments anyway. We can measure their blood pressure then.

If hypertension is diagnosed, treatment will depend on the underlying cause. If the cause is kidney disease or hyperthyroidism, treating these conditions will often lower the cat’s blood pressure. If the cause is heart disease or medication-related, we may prescribe medication to control the blood pressure.

Whilst hypertension is a serious problem that can lead to serious health problems if not detected and treated in time, with proper care, cats with hypertension can lead happy, healthy lives.

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