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Posted on 01-05-2012
Cats can develop hypertension, or high blood pressure, just as humans can, though the underlying causes may be different. The most common causes of feline hypertension are kidney failure and a hyperactive thyroid, though heart ailments can also cause the condition. Kidney failure is common in older cats, probably because the kidneys tend to shrink in size with age, making it more difficult for blood to circulate through them. A hyperactive thyroid, which also occurs in many older cats, boosts the body metabolism to an unnatural level, raising the blood pressure as a result.
Feline hypertension can cause serious damage to your cat, requiring the services of an emergency veterinarian. Left untreated, the disease can lead to burst blood vessels in the eyeball and a detached retina, leaving your cat partially or totally blind. Even more serious is the possibility of brain bleeding, which can produce strokes or seizures. If your cat displays dilated pupils, disorientation, a tilting of the head, difficulty walking or other behavioral problems, bring her to our emergency vet clinic immediately.
Emergency Animal Hospital of Northwest Austin can help your cat by diagnosing hypertension and performing immediate treatment to relieve the most urgent issues. If we can treat a cat blinded by hypertension quickly enough, at least some of her vision may eventually return, depending on the degree of eye damage.
By treating the underlying kidney or thyroid problem, an emergency veterinarian on our skilled team can often get the situation under control. But the best treatment, of course, is preventative. Have your cat's blood pressure checked regularly by your family vet. It is a very similar procedure to checking human blood pressure, though nervous cats can exhibit "white coat syndrome" until they become calm enough to produce an accurate reading. If your cat needs blood pressure medication, it is a small price to pay to prevent serious complications.
Has your cat had an experience with high blood pressure? Did you notice any symptoms?
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