Canberra Cat Vet
16-18 Purdue Street
Belconnen ACT 2617 AU
02 6251 1444
ccv@canberracatvet.com.au

Owner

Kate King

High blood pressure

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects older cats, especially those with kidney disease, heart disease or hyperthyroidism.

Overview

       Hypertension damages many organs in the body but especially:

  • The eyes: Sudden onset of blindness is unfortunately the most common sign we first detect in hypertensive cats. The little blood vessels in the retina burst under the pressure and flood the eye
  • The brain:Owners notice a change in their cat's behaviour or temperament. Some cats yowl a lot or press their heads against the wall.
  • The heart: The heart works harder and its wall thickens leading to heart failure
  • The kidneys: High blood pressure damages the kidneys and accelerates kidney failure 

Signs

  • Sudden onset of blindness
  • Strange behaviour or a change of temperament
  • A change in the sound of the heart
  • Detection of kidney disease

Prevention 

  • Measure blood pressure in cats over 10 years of age at every senior check
  • Measure blood pressure in every cat with kidney disease, heart disease, hyperthyroidism, or behaviour or temperament changes
  • Examine the eye for changes in the appearance of the blood vessels or retina at the back of the eye

Management

  • Treat the underlying disease if there is one - hypertension occurs in some cats with no obvious predisposing disease
  • Medication to bring the blood pressure down to normal is given once daily. We recommend a tablet or a gel applied to the skin of the inner ear. Until the blood pressure is stable we monitor the blood pressure weekly