Spotlight on High Blood Pressure in Cats and Dogs


May 2020

Just like humans, our pet dogs and cats can develop high blood pressure, or systemic hypertension. However, unlike us, most cases of high blood pressure in pets is the result of some other disease or condition. 

Today’s blog post sheds light on systemic hypertension in cats and dogs to help you learn what signs and symptoms you may need to lookout for, especially if your pet has been diagnosed with one of the other conditions that can cause it.

What Is Canine and Feline Hypertension?

Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. Perhaps you’ve discussed this issue with your own doctor or know of someone who has it. Unfortunately, our furry friends can also suffer the effects of high blood pressure, which can put their eyes, brains, spinal cords, kidneys, and hearts under strain .

For background information on how we take blood pressure readings in pets versus the process used for humans, please review our information page about systemic hypertension in pets.

Diagnosis of hypertension in dogs and cats is made after multiple blood pressure measurements are elevated. If your pet is diagnosed with one of the diseases known to cause hypertension, your primary care veterinarian should begin monitoring your cat or dog’s blood pressure more closely. 

What are the Common Signs of Hypertension in Cats and Dogs?

Because systemic hypertension is typically a symptom of another disease, your pet may be displaying a wide range of signs that he or she is ill. For instance, in cats, hypertension may be related to the endocrine disorder hyperthyroidism, and you may notice other symptoms of that condition first—such as weight loss despite an increased appetite.

When your pet is suffering from high blood pressure, he or she could also experience any of the following:

  •         Sudden blindness
  •         Behavioral changes
  •         Lethargy
  •         Nose bleeds
  •         Congestive heart failure
  •         Stroke-like symptoms


What Causes high blood pressure in Dogs and Cats?

High blood pressure, systemic hypertension, in cats and dogs is generally secondary to another disorder. Cushing’s disease, diabetes mellitus, and hyperthyroidism are endocrine system problems that can chronically raise blood pressure. Systemic hypertension is also often related to chronic kidney disease (CKD) in our pets.

Your primary care veterinarian can help determine whether your pet has one of these other illnesses through a variety of blood tests. Additionally, our board-certified cardiac specialist vets can help pinpoint the underlying causes of your pet’s hypertension when you consult with us.

What You Can Do to Help Your Pets Stay Healthy

The best thing you can do to keep your pets healthy is to stay up to date with their routine veterinary care even if your canine or feline friend is 100% healthy. Establishing a great relationship with a primary care veterinarian can promote better outcomes for your pet if he or she develops a cardiac condition or other disease or disorder down the line.

There is a wealth of treatment options available for pets with systemic hypertension. Your veterinarian is your best resource for developing a plan to ensure the best possible quality of life for your pet. 

Has Your Primary Care Vet Suggested Your Pet May Have Hypertension?

CVCA is here to help pet owners with compassionate care for feline and canine cardiac disease. When your pet presents with systemic hypertension, we’re able to consult with you and your regular general practice veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and develop an effective treatment and monitoring plan.

If you’re looking for the best cardiac care for pets throughout Kentucky, Maryland, Texas, Virginia, and beyond, contact us at CVCA to schedule an appointment today.


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