Doppler Blood Pressure Measurement

 

High blood pressure is quite a common problem in older cats. Sometimes it is associated with Hyperthyroidism, sometimes the cause is unknown. If left untreated high blood pressure damages the eyes, kidneys and heart, and often leads to blindness, heart and kidney failure. 

The old method of assessing a cat's blood pressure was the use of an ultrasound blood pressure machine. This required the vet to listen to the heart beat with earphones whilst using a pressure cuff to measure the blood pressure. The new blood pressure machines use doppler waves to do the whole job automatically. They are much more efficient and quicker, making the whole experience much less stressful for the cat. Unfortunately the new machines are very expensive!

As a practice we recommend blood pressure checks for all cats when they get to eight years old, as well as when indicated during clinical examination. If your pet is found to have high blood pressure we usually recommend chest x-rays and cardiac ultrasound as well as a detailed eye examination.

Dogs rarely have problems with high blood pressure and so we do not routinely recommend screening for it, but do check the blood pressure if there are clinical signs that suggest there might be a problem.