- Our feline friends are at risk of a life-threatening health issue just like their owners – high blood pressure
- It’s easy for vets to check for high blood pressure in cats: Finding it early can prevent blindness, kidney damage, heart attacks and death
They are our constant companion and have been credited with helping their owners get through physical and mental health problems but despite 93% of Brits considering their cat as one of the family, only 18% have been to the vets and had their cat’s blood pressure checked. Yet up to 83% of cats can present blind suddenly or with progressive blindness due to high blood pressure.
Blood pressure is the number one check British people expect GPs to make in older people, with 81% of those surveyed saying they would expect a GP to check this in their older patients. A survey of 2001 cat owners by CEVA Animal Health UK revealed four in five cat owners aren’t aware cats can develop high blood pressure.
CBBC’s Vet Dr Rory Cowlam, better known as Rory The Vet says “Feline hypertension awareness month is really important because it is something that is overlooked by a lot of owners and vets alike. High blood pressure can be hugely debilitating in older cats and is often linked to some of the common diseases we see in cats, so it is really important to check this as part of a routine “senior cat” health check!”
It is estimated 1 in 5 cats from the age of 9 years old are at risk of developing high blood pressure and if left untreated, high blood pressure can have severe consequences such as loss of vision, kidney failure and brain and heart damage. Only 15% of cat owners suspected a link between feline hypertension and blindness or deterioration of eyesight and after being made aware of the main risks of high blood pressure in cats, namely blindness, seizures and kidney disease, 83% of cat owners say they would ask their vet for a blood pressure test for their cat.
The International Society of Feline Medicine, ISFM, which campaigns nationally for cat welfare, recommends having blood pressure checks performed every year in cats from the age of 7 years old. The good news is that just like in people, blood pressure checks in cats are easy, quick and pain-free to do so can be included in routine vet visits in all older cats. As part of feline hypertension awareness month many vet clinics are promoting these checks so contact your vet to arrange one for your feline friend.
There is hope if you keep on top of regular check-ups!