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What is High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure refers to the force of the blood pushing against the arteries with a continuously elevated force. Just as in humans, cat blood pressure has an average healthy value, and can be measured. It is best to check your cat's blood pressure routinely during regular visits to the vet so that any problems due to changes in blood pressure can be prevented. 

In rare cases, the cat's elevated blood pressure has no associated underlying cause. This is called primary or idiopathic hypertension. In most cases however, a diagnosis of secondary hypertension is made, meaning that the cat's high blood pressure indicates another underlying primary disease. Older cats seem to be more prone to hypertension, though cats of all ages develop this condition. 

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a relatively common but manageable condition in cats. If left untreated, hypertension is a severe threat to the cat's health and can cause serious damage to the eyes, nervous system, kidneys, and heart.

High Blood Pressure Average Cost

From 342 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$750

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure in Cats

Unfortunately, there are no early warning signs of high blood pressure, and many cats with high blood pressure will exhibit no signs at all until the condition is severe. The symptoms they exhibit vary due to the underlying disease causing the high blood pressure. 

If the primary disease is hyperthyroidism or chronic renal failure, the cat might exhibit: 

  • Vomiting
  • Dull coat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Weight loss

If uncontrolled high blood pressure in the cat goes unnoticed for a lengthy period, the cat might experience:

  • Burst blood vessels in eye and sudden blindness
  • Retinal detachment
  • Enlarged thyroid gland in neck
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty walking
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Heart murmur
  • Stroke
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Causes of High Blood Pressure in Cats

Most cats with high blood pressure have an underlying primary cause. Two of the most common causes are acute hyperthyroidism and kidney disease. 

Other causes are:

  • Obesity
  • Overproduction of aldosterone, an adrenal hormone
  • Adrenal gland tumors
  • Stress
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Diagnosis of High Blood Pressure in Cats

A preliminary diagnosis is made by measuring the cat's blood pressure by placing a cuff on the leg or tail. Two measurements are made: the systolic pressure, the pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts or beats, pumping blood, and the diastolic pressure, the pressure when the heart rests between beats and fills with blood. In addition, a full blood workup will be done to discover the underlying cause. Most vets will also take a urinalysis and assess the thyroid hormone level.

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Treatment of High Blood Pressure in Cats

Treatment is initiated if the blood pressure elevation is found to be severe. The first step is to address any underlying disease such as chronic renal failure (CRF) or hyperthyroidism. Common treatments include medications that work to relax and widen the cat's blood vessels and reduce the resistance to blood flow. Calcium channel blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are the main types of medication. Diuretics might also be administered, which lower the body's fluid load, thereby lowering the blood pressure. With these types of medications, high blood pressure is controllable and sometimes reversible. 

Diet is another method of treating hypertension. Most affected cats are placed on a low-sodium diet. If a cat is obese, the vet will prescribe a weight-loss diet and regimen. Both you and your cat will monitor the progress of the weight loss program.

Once treatment is started, your vet will monitor the cat's blood pressure to see if it improves and to make sure that it does not drop too low. In extreme cases, a cat may need to be hospitalized for close monitoring until the crisis condition is stabilized. In a crisis situation, medication will be administered intravenously. Otherwise, oral medication is appropriate.

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Recovery of High Blood Pressure in Cats

The management of high blood pressure in cats is centered around reducing the cardiac output and the dilation of the blood vessels. Both medication and lifestyle measures, including diet, are prescribed. Proper nutrition for your cat's breed and condition is very effective in addressing both the underlying disease and the manifest symptoms. If your cat's diet is balanced, it should already be getting enough vitamin C and E, but if not, they can be taken synthetically. Vitamin C and E are both helpful in lowering blood pressure.

Though it can be hard to get your cat moving, exercise is important in cats just as it is in humans. Since obesity often causes hypertension, daily movement and aerobic activity are suggested. 

Another lifestyle measure that is recommended is keeping your cat's environment and routine as stress-free as possible. Cats thrive on consistent and calm environments, especially when already dealing with a stressful health challenge.

In cats which high blood pressure is detected early on and a therapeutic program is started immediately, it is usually possible to manage the disease well and prevent any future complications like eye damage.

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High Blood Pressure Average Cost

From 342 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$750

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High Blood Pressure Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Tootsie

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Feline

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11 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Blindness

My 11year old cat was diagnosed with high blood pressure. And is completely healthy otherwise.....she has gained 5 lbs within a month of taking amlodipine. She is already on weight management. I am very concerned and have expressed it at checkups....is there something else we can try

July 23, 2018

Tootsie's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Without examining Tootsie I cannot say determine whether the high blood pressure is a primary or secondary conditions, if it is a secondary condition the underlying condition should be treated and managed as well. There are other medications apart from amlodipine which may be used to control blood pressure but this would be down to your Veterinarian to prescribe a particular treatment, the article below gives different underlying causes and different medication for high blood pressure in cats. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM http://veterinarycalendar.dvm360.com/high-blood-pressure-cats-silent-killer-proceedings

July 23, 2018

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Poppy

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no breed

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9 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Blindness

My cat has just been diagnosed with high blood pressure after suddenly going blind. She has been tested for kidney and thyroid problems but tests have come back negative. She is on amlodipine 1.5mg. A week later I had to take her back to get BP taken again and a heart scan but they say they were unable to do it as she was too stressed. If this needs to be done I can't afford to keep taking her in to have it cancelled because of her stress, cant they do it under sedation? If not how can her blood pressure be monitored?

July 6, 2018

Poppy's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Most cats will tolerate blood pressure monitoring if they are taken right into a room and the pressures are checked right after they get there, and they leave quickly. Your veterinary clinic may need to schedule you when there are not dogs scheduled, or there may be a cat only clinic that you can take Poppy to.

July 6, 2018

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Nala

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Domestic shorthair

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16 Years

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Vomits

My 16 year old cat has been on amlodipine since Jan 1 2018 and I was wondering what would happen if we had to abruptly stop giving her the meds. Does this med have to be taken with food

July 2, 2018

Nala's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

That medication does not need to be given with food, and stopping the medication will cause Nala's blood pressure to go up, possibly damaging her kidneys or her retina and causing potential blindness, depending on the level of her blood pressure.

July 3, 2018

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Duffy

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Siamese

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3 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

She Act'S Like She Can'T See...

My cat acts like she's blind..she's afraid of of everything and she acts scared. I know she's overweight and her eyes turn red alot, even during the day. How can I check her blood pressure?

May 19, 2018

Duffy's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

A veterinarian can check her blood pressure, as cats have different equipment needed than people to do that. It sounds like she needs a good examination, as well, and possibly medications to help if her blood pressure is high. I hope that all goes well for her.

May 19, 2018

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Mitzi

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Short hair tabby

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13 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Thirsty

Mitzi Recently diagnosed Hypertention on Methimazole for 4 weeks now and is drinking a lot of water. Seems more active than before medication, still sleeps a lot.

March 4, 2018

Mitzi's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. I'm not sure what Mitzi's medical condition might be, what her dosage is on Methimazole, or what her test results might be. Typically, that medication treats a high thyroid and would make hypertension better. If she isn't responding typically, it would be best to have her re-examined by your veterinarian, as they can check her thyroid levels and adjust her medication accordingly.

March 5, 2018

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Maggie

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Long hair, but small stature. Maybe persian cross?

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12 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Increased Thirst
Circling
Increased Appetite
Blindness
Yowling

I adopted my elderly blind cat in August of last year. The pound did not diagnose her blindness as a result of high blood pressure and thought that the circling was her trying to explore her cage. They did do a blood panel at the pound, which turned out to be quite good. They did not know her age, as she was found as a stray but though she would be between 8 - 12 years old. I went to my own vet, who diagnosed her with high blood pressure and prescribed her amlodipine. Her blood pressure is lower now, but she is still circling and can be a little bit cranky (hisses at things she bumps into and at our other cat. She is still very underweight (around 2.7 kg) even though we have fed her recovery foor for months combined with Royal Canine Senior dry food (which is also suppose to be appetite stimulating). Recently, i was pleased to notice that she has started to eat and drink more, and i attributed it to being more comfortable and the warmer weather. However, she has also started yowling more and in random places. Also, when i play with her in the morning she used to enjoy trying to catch stick toy and could do this for up to 20 minutes. Recently she has started to lay down after a few minutes (she still tries to get the toy, but seem too tired to really chase it). Although her last two blood panels did not show any increased T4 hormones (most recent in Febuari), i worried that she might have hyperthyroidism. However, this last development does not seem to coincide with a potential hyperthyriodism diagnosis as cats are more commonly hyperactive. Do you think i should take her to the vet for another blood panel?

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Tia

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no breed

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12 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Not Eating

My car has been diagnosed with heart disease and given tablets for high blood pressure and tablets for the fluid on her heart Since taking these tablets she’s not eaten a thing for 2 full days and only had small amounts of water Is this normal due to the medication ?

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Finn

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Longhair

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16 Years

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Limping
Loss Of Appetite
Heart Murmur
Blindness
Irritable
Weightloss

My cat is 16. He was always a constant eater, though became quite emaciated beginning 2 years ago. The following symptoms began appearing progressively over time: limp in back leg, thirst, hunger but inability to chew bigger bits, howling at night, restlessness and most recent (last two weeks) sudden noticed total blindness but with responsive pupils. Took him for bloodwork 3 days ago; no signs of diabetes or thyroid issue, but heart murmur present. Since the bloodwork appt., kitty has stopped eating and is howling when I pick him up. Trying to have bowel movement but just strains. Returned to the vet yesterday for subQ fluids. Vet thinks HBP/hypertension and, due to dehydration, constipation which makes him uncomfortable. Prescribed a hypertension medication (begins with a P). Started him on it yesterday and thought he was dying last night. Usually pink nose went completely white. Catatonic sleep. Slow breathing. Still not eating. Got about 2 tbs tuna water into him over the last 10 hours. Still urinating. Few tiny drops of bowel movement--hard. Moving around the house again but seems listless. Have been so worried!

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Princess

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Domestic shorthair

dog-age-icon

18 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Sudden Blindnes

My 18+ cat has suddenly gone blind. She's been very healthy except arthritis in her front legs. I recently switched her to iams senior food.I can't afford a vet.She has started urinating in the floor even though I moved her box closer to her bed.As long as she's not in any pain I will keep her comfortable. I don't want to put her down! Could adding another younger cat that wants to play with her have caused high bp and blindness? Idk what to do!

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Charlotte

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dsh

dog-age-icon

7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

My cat has been diagnosed with a heart murmur and hig bp. Her blood work also showed larger than normal white blood cells, altho blood cell count was normal. My vet is recommending xray if lungs, ultrasound of heart, and possibly medicating her bp . Thyroid function was normal. My cat is active and only changes U saw were increased appetite and scratching. She is flea free, but does have some "kitty acne" on her chin which vet said was likely caused by contact with plastic food fishes.. Appreciate your recommendations. Cat is 7 yrs old, was diagnosed with and treated for active to opladmidid 2 yrs ago. Thank you!

High Blood Pressure Average Cost

From 342 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$750

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