It’s no secret the silent killer among humans is heart disease, especially when it comes to matters of high blood pressure. Millions of individuals across the United States suffer from hypertension, yet many are not even aware of it. It has earned the nickname “silent killer” because it can be present for an appreciable amount of time before symptoms arise. High blood pressure in cats is dangerous, too, especially for older cats.
According to petsbest.com, high blood pressure in cats is typically discovered as a complication from another underlying medical issue. It is often referred to as secondary hypertension.
The most common causes are chronic kidney disease and hyperthyroidism. High blood pressure in cats without an existing underlying disease is rare and not as easily understood.
Effects of High Blood Pressure In Cats
High blood pressure in cats can affect the body in numerous ways:
- Bleeding into the eyes
- Retinal changes such as swelling and retinal detachment, which can lead to permanent blindness
- Bleeding into the brain and nervous system, which can cause unusual behavior, an odd or wobbly gait, dementia, seizures and even coma.
The heart and kidneys can also become affected. The heart has to work harder to pump blood due to the thickening of the muscles in the heart chambers. Because of this, congestive heart failure is a concern.
Cats with high blood pressure may also have problems breathing and appear lethargic. The kidneys can also begin to fail, and is especially concerning in cats with kidney disease, as hypertension can aggravate the disease.
How To Check Your Cat’s Blood Pressure
How do you check a cat’s blood pressure? The method is similar to that used for humans. An inflatable cuff is placed around one of the legs or the tail. It is important to take a minimum of three to five readings and then average those.
In fact, blood pressure tests should be seen as a part of routine care screenings for older cats, as well as those cats who suffer from chronic kidney disease, hyperthyroidism and heart disease.
In treating high blood pressure in cats, it is advisable to treat the primary disease first, as this will often resolve the hypertension on its own. However, when a cat presents with retinal detachment or blindness, the high blood pressure issue should be addressed first. If blindness is caught within two to three days, it is possible to reattach the retinas and restore vision.
And always remember that routine wellness checks are essential in preventing serious illnesses, especially in the aging cat. If you have been putting off that wellness exam for your cat, be sure to get one scheduled right away. And for the record, be sure to check your blood pressure, too. Your cat needs you around to keep him company!!!