Pet owners with cats aged seven years or over are being urged to get their cat’s blood pressure checked at their local vets to help identify feline hypertension, which is known as a ‘silent killer’.
The move follows the launch of the results from Ceva Animal Health’s Mercury Challenge, the largest international hypertension initiative in cats, which encouraged practices around Europe to take blood pressure measurements from more than 10,000 cats, 4,000 of them from the UK.
The initiative showed that more than 40% of cats enrolled in the Mercury Challenge were hypertensive, with a blood pressure about 30% higher than found in ‘healthy’ cats. This high percentage suggests that feline hypertension may be even more common than suspected, especially in older cats, with the mean age of hypertensive cats found to be 13 years old.
Jodie Tanner, veterinary surgeon at Lime Tree Vets in Staffordshire, said: “We were surprised by how many of the cats whose blood pressure we measured as part of the Mercury Challenge actually had feline hypertension and were taken aback at the number of hypertensive cats which lacked visible signs. These hypertensive cats would have suffered in silence until they had more advanced damage, such as blindness.
“We would therefore urge any pet owners of cats aged seven or over to ask their vet for a blood pressure check for their cat.”