Many pet parents ask the question what is hypertension in cats? Whether you have a pedigree or not, all felines are at risk from the condition from 7 years upwards. Many pet owners don’t realise hypertension or high blood pressure isn’t only suffered by humans, but cats as well. In this post you’ll discover all about hypertension in cats including what causes it, signs to look for, and treatments.
Knowing what is hypertension in cats and what to look for could save your kitty’s life. Just as in humans, high blood pressure in cats in its early stages may show no symptoms. However, unless treated, puts your cat at serious risk of stroke, heart disease, or other serious illnesses.
What is hypertension in cats compared to people?
If you were to suffer from high blood pressure the chances are there will be no underlying cause. You’ll have no symptoms and only when your blood pressure is routinely taken by a doctor, will you know. In cats though, there is nearly always an underlying cause, and symptoms may show in different ways.
Sadly, your feline friend can’t talk, so it’s up to you as a cat parent to keep a watchful eye as she enters middle age. In humans, normal blood pressure is considered 120/80, but varies according to age and fitness levels. In cats, a healthy blood pressure reading is 120-130
How can you tell if your cat has high blood pressure?
There are many ways cats display signs of high blood pressure, and any one of them can be alarming. These include circling, disorientation, seizures, and blood in urine. Scary as they seem, prompt action in taking your cat to the vet will greatly improve her outcome.
Taking your cat’s blood pressure
I don’t know about you, but a visit to the doctor for a blood pressure check always makes me nervous. As a result, the reading is higher than it should be! “white coat syndrome” is very common and your cat may experience it as well. Your vet will put a small inflatable cuff around your cat’s paw or tail and either ask you to keep him still, or get the veterinary nurse to do it.
Usually seven readings will be taken, with the average being the one recorded. If it’s very high your vet will prescribe blood pressure pills and carry out diagnostic tests. This is to determine if there is an underlying cause, or whether it’s primary hypertension. The latter will be easily managed, but if there’s a cause, your cat will need to have it treated.
If your cat has been prescribed medication, it’s important to follow the vet’s instructions. In addition, you’ll probably be required to give your kitty a pill every day for the rest of her life. This may sound daunting, but once you get used to it, giving your cat a pill without being torn to shreds gets easier!
What tests will the vet do?
Your vet will probably test a urine sample, as well as take a blood test. He or she will also do a thorough physical examination including checking your cat’s eyes. These may also include an ultrasound depending on what your vet suspects.
None of these are invasive, and very straight forward. Getting a diagnosis before things progress too far will ensure the best outcome.
Common causes of hypertension in cats
As previously mentioned, hypertension in cats often has an underlying cause. These include obesity, hyperthyroidism, kidney failure, and heart disease. If caught early on, most cats will respond well to treatment and continue to enjoy life well into old age.
Obesity in cats is becoming all to common with many at risk of developing arthritis and heart disease, as well as hypertension. Over pampering and falsely believing your kitty needs treats every five minutes, leads to an oversized puss! The same goes for dogs and other household pets. Before you even consider owning a pet you should always get advice on feeding it first.
A fat cat that closely resembles Garfield may look funny, but the poor animal will have serious health risks. Knowing what is hypertension in cats and that obesity is a common underlying cause should make you more aware of your cat’s feeding schedule. It’s believed up to half of all cats are too heavy, and could do with losing weight.
Hyperthyroidism is common in older cats, and around 25% have high blood pressure as well. Heart disease in cats though less common could still be the reason why your kitty has hypertension. Kidney disease is also very common in seniors, with high blood pressure being one of the symptoms.
How hypertension can affect your cat’s eyes
If left untreated, hypertension in cats can lead to blindness. Bleeding into the eye can easily be noticed without any special equipment. As part of your cat’s regular grooming sessions you should check her eyes for anything unusual.
If your cat seems to have problems navigating and bumps into things, you should take her to a vet as soon as possible. In some cases, a detached retina can be fixed, restoring partial vision, but often blindness becomes permanent.
Your vet will provide immediate treatment for high blood pressure, preventing further problems. Though loss of sight leaves your cat disabled, she’ll adapt by relying on her sense of hearing and smell. To avoid things getting this far, regular checkups with your vet will uncover any minor problems before they develop.
Once your cat is over the age of 7 years she’s considered middle aged. This figure has increased over the past few decades as cats are living longer. As part of her annual check, your vet will do a blood pressure test. This in much the same way a doctor checks older patients for high blood pressure.
High blood pressure, the silent killer
Now you know what is hypertension in cats and how it can seriously damage your pet’s health, you can take the necessary precautions. As mentioned before, keeping an eye on your cat’s weight can help prevent high blood pressure. In addition, making sure your kitty gets plenty of exercise is vital. Encourage your cat to play, and if she spends a lot of time indoors, get a cat tree for her to climb.
Just as in humans, high blood pressure can be a silent killer in cats. Strokes, and sudden death can often be avoided by simply getting it checked. Most vets recommend an annual check if your cat’s blood pressure is normal, but every three to six months if it’s slightly elevated. Taking a holistic approach by supplementing your cats diet can be a good idea. Diet plays an important part in maintaining good health, and your vet may suggest prescription food. Supplementing your cat’s diet may also help lower your cat’s blood pressure.
Life extension cat mix contains a blend of essential vitamins and minerals needed for optimum health. Another very good supplement for both cats and dogs is Wild Alaskan salmon oil. This supports heart health as well as joint health so is perfect for older pets.
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Wishing you a purrfect day:)