Features

May 2008 Issue

Cats and High Blood Pressure

Hypertension in cats usually results from kidney disease or a hyperactive thyroid gland.

As cats reach the age of eight or nine (the rough equivalent of 40 or 50 in a human), they may begin to show signs of age-related physical disorders that may or may not increase in severity as the animals continue their transition into old age. Some feline geriatric conditions, of course, may ultimately prove fatal. Others, however, may be amenable to medical therapy that can extend the life of an elderly cat for several years. Hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure) is one of the latter disorders. If untreated, it can lead to blindness and possible damage to the heart, kidneys and brain. But given an accurate assessment of its cause and prompt initiation of appropriate veterinary treatment, the condition is most often manageable, says Richard Goldstein, DVM, an associate professor of small animal medicine at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine who is board-certified by both the American and European Colleges of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Feline hypertension, he notes, "occurs far more frequently than people think."

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