High Blood Pressure can cause blindness in cats; have you had your senior cat’s blood pressure taken lately? Systemic hypertension – a persistent increase in blood pressure – is commonly recognized in feline practice.
Feline hypertension is commonly found as a complication of other underlying medical conditions (secondary hypertension), although primary hypertension (hypertension without any underlying disease) may also be seen in cats. In contrast to people, where primary hypertension (also called essential hypertension) is most common, secondary hypertension is more common in cats. Primary hypertension accounts of less than 20% of feline cases.
The most common secondary causes of hypertension are chronic kidney disease (CKD) and hyperthyroidism. Other causes include hyperaldosteronism (Conn’s syndrome), chronic blood loss adrenal tumours and erythropoietin therapy
Unfortunately hypertension is often only suspected very late in the course. The target organs most vulnerable to hypertensive damage are the brain (usually behavioural, night vocalization, signs of dementia), heart, kidneys and eyes (blindness). The goal of managing high blood pressure is to identify and treat underlying causes, and to reduce systemic blood pressure to an ideal range with anti-hypertensive medications.
Blood pressure should be evaluated as a routine part of check-ups for all cats past 7 years of age. We can help measure your feline friend’s blood pressure with a Doppler machine at their next visit for their wellness check.