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Routine cat blood pressure tests can curb health risks

Increased awareness around the importance of regular blood pressure checks could help detect feline hypertension early, survey finds.

A study engaging over 500 veterinary professionals aimed to better understand the challenges associated with monitoring blood pressure in adult cats.

Results reveal insights into the current practices and signal the importance of regular blood pressure checks.

While the survey indicated that blood pressure assessments are not yet a routine part of many veterinary consultations this information offers an opportunity for vets to consider it in examinations.

Study questionnaire

Researchers from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies joined with commercial partner Vet Professionals to design the survey, which gathered perspectives from veterinary professionals both within the UK and abroad.

The insights provide a clear picture of the challenges faced in checking for feline hypertension – a condition that, if left untreated, can lead to serious health consequences, affecting the eyes, heart, kidneys, and brain of cats.

Barriers and recommendations

One of the common barriers highlighted by survey participants was practical issues such as situational hypertension (a spike in blood pressure due to stress) which can lead to inaccurate readings. However, incorporating a 10-minute period of acclimatisation to help the cat settle can help. Where possible, this might be achieved by having the cat come for consultation at a quiet time when the waiting room is less busy then wait in the consult room before the vet or nurse joins them, researchers suggest.

Other constraints noted by veterinary professionals include pet owners hesitating to bring their cats in for blood pressure checks.

Raising awareness about situations where blood pressure assessments are beneficial for cats and their owners could make a significant difference in early detection of feline hypertension, the research team suggests.

Researchers identified this need to provide clients with education about hypertension, and recommend that veterinary professionals ensure they are comfortable using the monitoring equipment, performing eye examinations and recognising common indications of hypertension.

These results shed light on areas where veterinarians and pet owners can work together to ensure the long-term health of cats.

Addressing these could lead to enhanced communication between veterinarians and owners, ultimately improving the health and well-being of feline companions.

This research is published in the International Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery and supported by Ceva Animal Health.

It is important for cat owners to understand the importance of regular blood pressure checks, even for younger cats. Hypertension is often preventable and is very treatable, and doing so can avoid a series of severe health issues for our furry friends.”

“Vets could keep owners informed, for example, by having information on the practice website and waiting room wall about the importance of blood pressure checks, and even sending this information out with vaccine reminders for cats of 8 years of age, or older

Professor Danielle Gunn-Moore

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About the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies is a one-of-a-kind centre of excellence in clinical activity, teaching and research. Our purpose-built campus, set against the backdrop of the beautiful Pentland Hills Regional Park, is home to more than 800 staff and almost 1400 students, all of whom contribute to our exceptional community ethos.

The School comprises:

The Roslin Institute

The Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems

The Roslin Innovation Centre

The Hospital for Small Animals

Equine Veterinary Services

Farm Animal Services

Easter Bush Pathology

The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education

We represent the largest concentration of animal science-related expertise in Europe, impacting local, regional, national and international communities in terms of economic growth, the provision of clinical services and the advancement of scientific knowledge.