Blood Pressure



Just like humans, animals can suffer from high blood pressure or "hypertension". Often a high blood pressure is not obvious to see without measurement, but a thorough eye examination may reveal indicative signs. High blood pressure is most commonly seen in cats, who may present when they suddenly become blind in one or both eyes. This is usually caused by a "detached retina". Another sign of high blood pressure could be nose bleeds. In cats, most hypertension is secondary - ie a complication from another disease. The most common causes of secondary hypertension are chronic renal failure and hyperthyroidism (an over active thyroid gland).

How do you measure my pet's blood pressure?

Blood pressure monitoring is a relatively simple, non-invasive procedure which usually takes 5-20 minutes. There is no need for sedation - in fact sedation lowers blood pressure so this would affect the results. A small patch of hair is clipped away from the back of the front foot, and a Doppler probe is placed in this area in order to hear the animals pulse.Ultrasound gel is used to improve the connection. A cuff is placed around the top of the leg, just like the ones used in people but smaller (for a cat a premature baby cuff is used). The cuff is then inflated until we can no longer hear the pulse via the probe. The pressure is then slowly released and the reading taken.