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My Cat Has Developed High Blood Pressure

Your middle-aged cat Peaches has just returned from her checkup with her Milford veterinarian. Although Peaches is a little chubby, she’s in generally good health except for one major development: Peaches has developed hypertension, or high blood pressure. You know that many human patients develop this condition, but you’re surprised that Peaches and her feline friends can also be affected. Your vet mentioned that older cats with kidney disease, heart disease, and hyperthyroidism often develop high blood pressure as well. Now that you’ve gotten over your initial shock, you’re working with your vet to keep Peaches’ hypertension under control.

Symptoms Worth Concern

Peaches has been hitting her water bowl pretty hard, and she has been passing much more water than usual. Both symptoms go along with kidney disease, and can also be connected to hypertension. When you look at Peaches directly, she might show dilated pupils and/or blood in her eye chamber; these symptoms are caused by blood building up in her eye from increased pressure. Peaches is at immediate risk for a detached retina and potential blindness; so get poor Peaches to your vet immediately. Also, remember that some cardiac conditions lead to heart murmurs, also linked with hypertension.

Underlying Ailments

Peaches and her fellow felines are more apt to acquire high blood pressure from kidney disease and hyperthyroidism than from heart disease. When Peaches becomes older, her kidneys can generate scar tissue and actually shrink, leaving less space for blood flow. In turn, blood gets backed up in Peaches’ arteries, and her blood pressure goes up. Hyperthyroidism occurs when Peaches’ body produces excess thyroid hormone, a common occurrence in aging cats. Since Peaches’ thyroid controls her metabolism, and it’s pumping out too much thyroid hormone, her metabolism goes crazy. When Peaches’ heart pumps blood more quickly, she experiences high blood pressure.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Like your family doctor, your vet uses special-purpose equipment to test Peaches for hypertension. Because blood pressure rises or falls because of varied factors, your vet takes several readings and averages the results. To address Peaches’ hypertension, your vet will use medications to treat her underlying medical condition, such as heart and/or kidney disease. Once Peaches’ underlying condition improves, her blood pressure should stabilize. Remember that your vet doesn’t currently have approved medications to treat the blood pressure directly.

To decrease Peaches’ hypertension risk, your Milford vet will prescribe a balanced diet that might include healthy treats. You’ll need to regulate Peaches’ portions so she doesn’t become obese and potentially trigger a serious disease. To give Peaches lots of exercise, play with her often and provide interactive cat toys that will keep her body and mind active.

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