Recently it has been shown that that about 1 in 5 cats presented to veterinary clinics suffer from high blood pressure or hypertension. However, unlike in humans, high blood pressure in cats is usually associated with another disease problem. The condition is more usually seen in older cats and can lead to blindness, heart problems, brain disturbances and may well affect the kidneys. In fact chronic kidney failure is the condition most associated with hypertension. The question that has perplexed scientists for many years is whether high blood pressure causes kidney problems or does kidney disease lead to the rise in blood pressure. A detailed study of the body chemicals and hormones and how they interact may give us the answer.
You may be wondering how on earth can vets take a cat's blood pressure, but basically the system is very similar to having your own taken. The technique uses an inflatable cuff placed around a front or hind leg. Even the tail can be used. The actual measurement uses a form of U-Boat Replica ultrasound connected to the cuff. Just like us too, a cat's blood pressure can rise quickly, especially if it is under stress. So the "white coat effect" when a cat visits a vet's surgery has to be taken into account, and the cat must be allowed to settle down first, often with the owner present during the procedure.
The Pet Plan Charitable Trust has been giving financial support to researchers at the Royal Veterinary College for the last three years and they are striving to find the connection between blood pressure and kidney disease. This has been a challenging study and the Veterinary College has also worked with specialists in human kidney disease at Imperial College, London.
The latest report from the group indicated that they were extremely close to elucidating the cause of hypertension in the cat and as you might guess this will lead to advancement to the treatment and then the prevention of both the rise in blood pressure and kidney disease. Students at the veterinary college will be well placed, as soon as they qualify, to put new therapies into action, to avoid distress both to cats and their owners.
We have also supported studies into the problem carried out by a team at The Animal Health Trust.