Feline Systemic Hypertension: Diagnosis and Management

Stepien R.L.

J Feline Med Surg, 2011. 13(1): p.35-43.


PRACTICAL RELEVANCE: the clinical importance of feline hypertension has been recognised for many years and most feline practitioners are quite familiar with this syndrome. Once systemic hypertension is identified, long-term management of the patient is needed to avoid catastrophic (eg, blindness due to retinal detachment) or subtle (eg, accelerated renal damage) target organ damage. PATIENT GROUP: feline systemic hypertension is most commonly a complication of renal disease and hyperthyroidism, both diseases of older feline patients. By 15 years of age, the probability of having at least one of these two diseases is high. As well cared for cats are living longer, optimal long-term management of feline hypertension in patients with concurrent diseases is an issue of clinical importance. CLINICAL CHALLENGES: obtaining accurate blood pressure measurements in patients that are anxious, fractious or just plain uncooperative remains a significant issue in feline medicine, as does confident analysis of results from these patients. DIAGNOSTICS: careful measurement of systolic blood pressure using Doppler or oscillometric techniques in conjunction with evaluation for evidence of hypertensive choroidopathy (funduscopic examination) and hypertensive cardiac changes (thoracic auscultation) are essential to the diagnosis of systemic hypertension in cats. Other diagnostic techniques, including evaluation of renal and thyroid function, are needed to detect the underlying disease condition. EVIDENCE BASE: numerous well-designed clinical studies have greatly advanced our understanding of the most appropriate methods of diagnosis and therapy of feline hypertension.