Just like humans, cats suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension) and pet owners with cats aged seven years or over1 are being urged to get their cat’s blood pressure checked at their local vets to help identify feline hypertension.
Chloe Little is a registered vet nurse who works at Wylie Wellness Centre in Brentwood, Essex. Here she talks about her 16-year-old cat, Miley, and her feline hypertension diagnosis and treatment.
“We took Miley on as a rescue cat three years ago, when we think she was about 13-years-old. Hypertension is known as the ‘silent killer’ as it often develops gradually without any early visible signs; when people notice changes in their cats, it is often too late as the eyes, kidneys, heart and brain can be severely affected.
“We initially noticed some changes in Miley’s behaviour, so I took her into work to have some neurological investigations. It was during the consultation that we discovered that she had high blood pressure. I checked her blood pressure again at home and it was consistently high, so we began treatment for feline hypertension shortly afterwards.
Miley and Chloe
“Miley is now on daily medication for feline hypertension and she is also being treated for chronic kidney disease (CKD) which is a contributing cause and a complication of hypertension. She now has her blood pressure checked at least every six months and, so far, since starting treatment in January her blood pressure has reduced and it is now within normal measurements.
“Senior cats are very good at hiding illness and hypertension is very easy to overlook, which is why regular blood pressure checks are so important.
“Having my own senior cat has made me a massive advocate for their health and wellbeing and at Wylie Wellness Centre we are introducing routine screening of blood pressure in cats over nine-years-old or those with known concurrent illness such as CKD and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid).
Screening is important as high blood pressure signs can be subtle and may be mistaken for dementia or general aging. Look out for your cat becoming withdrawn and lethargic; bumping into things; staring into space; being generally confused and changes in behaviour or habits.
The risk of hypertension increases as cats age or if cats have other conditions such as chronic kidney disease (CKD) or hyperthyroidism.
For further information on feline hypertension, please visit www.amodeus.vet or contact your local vet practice.