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Why your cat needs regular blood pressure checks: New guidelines

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
New veterinary guidelines recommend blood pressure screening for cats

New guidelines for veterinarians highlights the important of regular blood pressure checks for our feline friends. Why is getting your cat's blood pressure checked so important?


Just like humans cats can develop hypertension that can have the same negative seen in humans.

If your cat is not getting a regular blood pressure check, you may want to speak with your veterinarian about making it a part of your cat's usual care.

The guidelines come from The International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), the veterinary division of International Cat Care who share high blood pressure in cats is underdiagnosed despite the fact that feline hypertension can lead to organ damage, blindness and kidney and heart failure.

The simple task of checking blood pressure, in short, could save you cat's life. The good news is your veterinarian can do this easily,

Some reasons your cat could have high blood pressure include:

  • Idiopathic - in other words there is no underlying cause found and the condition could be related to genes
  • Overactive thyroid
  • Chronic kidney disease (the most common reason)
  • Other endocrine system disorders that affect hormone regulation such as fluid and electrolyte balance or the adrenal glands and rare tumors.

The researchers note some cats that are treated for overactive thyroid successfully can still develop high blood pressure, an important note for cat owners.

High blood pressure that happens suddenly can cause your cat's retina to detach, which results in irreversible blindness.

The researchers also point out high blood pressure in cats that is present over a long period of time can lead to brain changes known as encephalopathy.

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Symptoms include:

  • Loss of balance
  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Depression

Just like humans, high blood pressure can cause your cat to go into kidney failure and it happens 'silently'; over time.

If your pet has hypertension there are medications that can be used to treat the condition.

Here are the recommendations for making sure your cat's blood pressure is in the healthy range:

Age 3 to 6 and healthy: Check blood pressure every 12 months
Senior cats age 7 to 10 should have a blood pressure check at least every 12 months
Healthy older felines over age 11 every 6 to 12 months
Cats with underlying diseases such as chronic kidney disease, hyperthyroidism or endocrine tumors, dysfunction immediately and at least every 3 to 6 months.

Keeping your cat healthy is every pet owner's goal. Making sure your cat's blood pressure is normal can save expense and suffering and is now recommended as a routine part of your pet's wellness visit.


Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery
"ISFM Consensus Guidelines on the Diagnosis and Management of Hypertension in Cats"
Samatha S. Taylor, et al
March 1, 2017

More reading:

What Cats and Dogs Teach Us About Avoiding Feline Diabetes Mellitus and Canine Diabetes Mellitus
What Turmeric might do for Animal Health