Cats get high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, just like people do. In cats, hypertension is usually seen associated with kidney disease or hyperthyroidism. Left untreated, hypertension in cats can cause blindness, heart disease, or strokes.
We measure blood pressure with a special Doppler ultrasound blood pressure monitor (somewhat similar to what they use to check people’s carotid arteries) and a blood pressure cuff. We sometimes have to shave a small place above the foot or on the tail to apply the device.
Cats often become stressed when they visit the veterinarian and their blood pressure can increase accordingly (the white coat syndrome).
Consequently, we adjust the ‘normal’ ranges accordingly. We measure just the systolic blood pressure (the upper number caused by the heart contracting and pushing the blood out). Blood Pressure Ranges in the Cat
How do you treat my cat’s high blood pressure?
|Calm, relaxed||BP 140|
|Normal nervous||BP 140-160|
|Borderline hypertensive||BP 160-180|
|Hypertensive cat||BP 180 +|
Usually we use a human medication called Norvasc, or amlodipine to treat feline hypertension. If the hypertension is caused by hyperthyroidism, we treat the hyperthyroidism directly and the high blood usually resolves. If kidney disease is the cause, we treat the kidney disease along with using the Norvasc to control the hypertension. Your cat will need to have its blood pressure rechecked and its medication adjusted periodically to maintain normal pressures.