So I am sure we all are aware of the condition called hypertension or high blood pressure.
But did you also know that it affects cats equally?
Yes, really, it does.
8 unbelievable facts about high blood pressure in cats:
- Just like humans, cats can also suffer from hypertension. However, in Feline hypertension is different from humans; it’s due to underlying diseases such as kidney failure, heart disease and hyperthyroidism.
- High blood pressure in cats isn’t taken seriously as in human, which can be threatening to a cat’s well being.
- Hypertension occurs in cats when the cat’s arterial blood pressure continues to be beyond the normal range.
- Your cat might also be suffering from diabetes along with hypertension, being one of the symptoms.
- It’s a silent killer, if stayed untreated for a longer period of time, can possibly cause you the life of your kitten.
- The thing about cat’s having high blood pressure is you can’t detect it.
- Your kitty might not even show some serious signs, it’s most relaxed, and a playful creature on earth, but might still be suffering silently.
- Obesity is known as one of the most common and underlying causes of heart disease and hypertension among cats.
There’s no specific reason for this ailment, however, there are different reasons that contribute to this condition in cats.
Unfortunately, cats are not routinely tested by vets, unlike humans.
However, we may take into consideration a genetic component.
So how common is this form of hypertension?
Different studies state different facts, but we found one study that stated 65 percent of cats who suffer from chronic renal failure and 87 percent of cats with diagnosis of hyperthyroidism suffered from mild high blood pressure.
Cats aged between the brackets of 4 to 20 years old fall victim to hypertension.
While most of us don’t necessitate it with the same degree of concern as we do in humans, however, it’s still something to discuss with your vet.
What symptoms of high blood pressure should we look for in cats?
Unfortunately, since cats don’t show any early signs of hypertension, it’s difficult to understand what’s going on inside their bodies, until the condition gets severe and out of control.
If the cat is suffering from hyperthyroidism or persistent renal failure, she might exhibit the following signs,
- Sudden weight loss
- Increase in thirst
- Loss of appetite
- Dull coat
- Increase in urination
How to measure blood pressure in cats?
Blood pressure in cats is measured in pretty much the same as in humans. The vet will place an inflatable cuff around the cat's paw or tail to check the cat’s blood pressure.
Note: for an accurate reading, it’s advisable to keep the cat still in one position long enough so that you get accurate reading in one go.
Normally, blood pressure is measured as a ratio for e.g. a ratio of 120/80 is ideal for a healthy human being, as well as animals, above or below this ratio will not be normal, and might involve risk and hence needed consultation and even medicine in some cases.
The ratio is the pressure in the vein during a heartbeat, or what is known as systolic pressure, over the diastolic pressure, which is actually the pressure in the vein when the your heart is at rest (for e.g., when you are sleeping).
If these numbers shoot from normal ranges (i.e., above than 120/80) your cat has high blood pressure.
The blood pressure standards for cat are as follows:
- 150/95 – at this reading or below, shows your cat is at minimal risk and as such no treatment is required.
- 150/99 to 159/95 – slightly increase in reading, but nothing much to worry about, keep a close check, but again no treatment is recommended at this stage.
- 160/119 to 179/100 -- treatment is mandatory to ensure no damage is done to cats’ organs.
- 180/120 – that’s a red flag, you must immediately seek treatment to restrict the intensity, and a possibly of other severe complexities.
What happens if high blood pressure in cats goes unnoticed?
High blood pressure in cats are different than in humans, humans are generally mainly at a risk of a stroke or a heart attack. However, cats show different signs and experience different complications.
And, if the condition of hypertension or high blood pressure goes unnoticed in the cat for a longer period, your cat might show the following signs:
- Appearance of broken blood vessels in eyes
- Sudden blindness
- Retinal detachment
- Bloated thyroid gland in neck
- Perplexity Seizures
- Experience great difficulty in walking
- Complication in breathing
Additionally, it also makes it more difficult for the kidney to function properly, for e.g. in effect it doesn’t filter out waste.
Hypertension in many cats can also greatly affect cats’ function of hearts, and in extreme cases of hypertension, or if the symptom goes unnoticed for long can also result in congestive heart failure.
Also, if you notice certain unusual symptoms in your cat or any of the below mentioned symptoms, you must rush to a vet as soon as possible, as these signs could be the indication of hypertension and may need an urgent treatment.
- Your cat suddenly start acting depressed
- Shows sign of blurred vision
- Lazing around, lethargic.
Treatment of High Blood Pressure in Cats Treatment should be immediately started once if the blood pressure elevation is found to be severe and your cat starts showing extreme signs of hypertension.
1. The very first step in this regard is a trip to the holistic veterinarian.
2. The second recommended step towards treating this ailment would be to first treat any underlying disease such as chronic renal failure (CRF) or hyperthyroidism.
3. Thirdly treat with human medications that will relax your cat and slow down the hyperactivity, and additionally work to widen the cat's blood vessels and decrease the resistance to blood flow.
4. The primary medicines involve in the treatment include angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, which is mainly used to prevent hypertension and congestive heart failure and Calcium channel blockers, which results in preventing calcium from entering cells of the heart and blood vessel walls, leading to lower blood pressure.
However, since there are no specific hypertension medicines for cats, it might not be appropriate to prescribe human medicines to cats, because hypertension medicines for humans are made specifically for humans and are strong and deciding a correct dose for your cat turn out be challenging and risky.
5. The body’s fluid load will also be lowered by the use of a medicine called Diuretics, thus resulting in lowering the blood pressure. However, these types of medications can be highly effective in controlling blood pressure, but at the same time, sometimes potentially reversible, too. So, there is little risk involved with this way of treatment.
6. Diet is another possible way of treating hypertension in cats without the usage of any strong medicine. Your vet will put most affected cats on a low-sodium diet.
7. If a cat is also suffering from obesity, your vet will prescribe a weight-loss diet and routine (including daily activity such as aerobic exercise, etc). However, you will have to strictly monitor the progress of the weight loss program.
8. Your vet will make a point to monitor the cat's blood pressure once the treatment is started to make sure the condition improves and also ensure sure that blood pressure does not drop too low.
9. You might also need to get your cat hospitalized for close monitoring until the severe condition is stabilized.
10. In severe conditions, when a cat isn’t able to take medicines orally, medication will be given intravenously.
What are the chances of recovery of high blood pressure in cats?
Both medicines and lifestyle changes including diet play a vital role in the management and recovery of high blood pressure in cats.
Proper nutrition suitable for your cat's breed and condition are very useful in tackling both the underlying diseases and the apparent symptoms. Your cat's diet should be balanced at all times, it should already be getting plenty of vitamin C and E, but if not, they can be taken artificially.
Vitamin C and E, both are proven to be helpful in lowering blood pressure. Just like humans, exercise is important for your cats, too. Though it can be challenging to get your cat moving, but regular exercise will keep your cat healthy, fit and out of trouble. As obesity in cats is the main culprit often causes hypertension.
Daily exercises such as activities that involve movement and aerobic activity are highly recommended to keep your cats active and healthy.
Another recommendation is to ensure a healthy and stress free lifestyle for your cat, hence, make sure to keep your cat's environment and routine as stress-free as possible.
Older cats are at a greater risk of hypertension than younger cats, hence, should have them screened at least once a year. Get your cat’s routinely examination done, even if you don’t see any obvious symptoms, as precaution is better than cure.
Yes, it’s usually possible to manage hypertension in cats well and prevent any possible future complications such as damage of an organ or an eye, if you follow the healthy lifestyle regimen, keep them active, and ensure a balanced diet.