Prepare for unexpected vet bills

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.

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

Compare plans
advertisement image

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
arrow-up-icon

Top

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
arrow-up-icon

Top

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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

High Blood Pressure Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$750

arrow-up-icon

Top

High Blood Pressure Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

Tootsie

dog-breed-icon

Feline

dog-age-icon

11 Years

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

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

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

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

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

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Poppy

dog-breed-icon

no breed

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

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

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

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

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

Was this experience helpful?

High Blood Pressure Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$750

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

advertisement image
ask a vet placeholder
Need pet insurance?