Do Cats Have High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?
Feline Hypertension vs. Human Hypertension
Like humans cats can also have high blood pressure. The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) has guidelines.
Unlike humans most cats have hypertension from another disease process. In humans, there is not usually an underlying reason.
In cats, hypertension is usually secondary to kidney disease or hyperthyroidism. There are some other more uncommon reasons from adrenal diseases.
Why do we care?
Hypertension can lead to blindness in cats. It can detach their retinas. This is sometimes reversible and sometimes not. Hypertension can lead to stroke, worsening heart disease and worsening kidney disease.
Most cats respond very well to amlodipine once daily. Most cats need ¼ pill once daily. Blood pressure should be checked 1 week after starting the medication to see if a higher dose is needed.
Taking blood pressure in cats
The most reliable way of assessing blood pressure is to use a Doppler. This allows us to hear that heart. We use a cuff on one of the legs or the tail. Similar to what happens to people, but with some differences.
Blood pressure readings
We usually measure the systolic pressure. Between 100 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) and 140 mmHg is considered to be within normal limits. Since many cats are unhappy at veterinary visits, we understand that there can be “white coat” syndrome. This can raise pressure up to 20 mmHg.
We monitor if the pressure is over 160 mmHg. At 180 mmHg, we will usually start treatment.
New recommendations are that we check blood pressure in younger cats to establish baseline information
Please feel free to email or call us (703) 525-1955 with any questions.