Last fall, one of my fur babies, my twelve-year-old little girl Drusilla, went in for her yearly exam and was diagnosed with dangerously high blood pressure. Who knew cats could get high blood pressure!
I've learned a lot about high blood pressure in cats over the past few months. Lots of scary things, like if untreated high blood pressure can cause a stroke, heart issues, blindness, kidney failure, and seizures. Terrible! Thank goodness we caught this early enough and it appears Drusilla doesn't have any damage from the high blood pressure. Unfortunately, she will be on medicine for the rest of her life, but that is okay. She has been pretty good taking her pills. God bless the makers of the salmon flavored pill pocket.
According to PetMD.com, the symptoms of high blood pressure or hypertension in cats are:
- Dilated pupils
- Retinal detachment
- Hemorrhage of the eye
- Bleeding from the nose
- Swollen or shrunken kidneys
- Heart murmur
- Weakness on one side of body or in the legs
- Involuntary oscillation (rolling) of the eyeballs
- Palpable thyroid gland
Drusilla didn't have any of these, but I think that is because we caught it early. What I did notice was that she was extremely lethargic. She would walk down the stairs and immediately sit down. She also slept more than usual. The vet said that could have been due to heart working overtime or a really bad headache, which high blood pressure can also cause.
I am so glad we found out about her condition before it got a lot worse!
If you see any of these warning signs in your cat, or you just don't think they are acting like themselves, take them to the vet immediately. We need to be aware of any changes, even something small. They can't tell us when they aren't feeling well.