FELINE hypertension is being diagnosed with increasing frequency as more and more veterinary practices acquire the necessary equipment to perform indirect monitoring of blood pressure in cats. Mean arterial blood pressure is determined by the cardiac output (stroke volume x heart rate) and the peripheral vascular resistance. It is known to increase with age in cats, and patients suffering from the more common feline diseases such as chronic renal disease, hyperthyroidism and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are thought to be particularly susceptible to high blood pressure. While hypertension in cats usually occurs secondarily to other diseases, there is emerging evidence that primary hypertension exists in this species. However, the underlying mechanisms involved in the development of feline hypertension are still not fully understood and more research is required in this area. This article presents practical advice to assist in the early detection and management of the condition, which are key to preventing severe clinical disease.
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