Appointments: (02) 6251 1444
16-18 Purdue St, Belconnen, ACT
(Parking via Gillott Street)
Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm
Saturday: 8:30am - 1:00pm

Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Sudden blindness?

Friday, June 02, 2017

The most common cause of sudden blindness in cats is high blood pressure. Some cats with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, may appear to have headaches. They keep to themselves, are a bit crabby or stare into space.
Older cats, especially if they have kidney disease or hyperthyroidism, may develop high blood pressure.
If hypertension is not controlled the blood vessels at the back of the eye may burst causing instant blindness. More insidiously any existing heart or kidney disease worsens, and vascular dementia develops.
We routinely check the blood pressure of cats older than 10 years of age with a machine that amplifies the sound of their pulse, but is otherwise very similar to the device used on humans. Most cats are like the old chum above, happy and reasonably relaxed - as long as their person is close by.
Treatment is relatively simple and effective. Many cats even regain their sight.

High Blood Pressure

Thursday, July 30, 2015

High Blood Pressure can cause blindness in cats; have you had your senior cat’s blood pressure taken lately? Systemic hypertension – a persistent increase in blood pressure – is commonly recognized in feline practice.

Feline hypertension is commonly found as a complication of other underlying medical conditions (secondary hypertension), although primary hypertension (hypertension without any underlying disease) may also be seen in cats. In contrast to people, where primary hypertension (also called essential hypertension) is most common, secondary hypertension is more common in cats. Primary hypertension accounts of less than 20% of feline cases.

The most common secondary causes of hypertension are chronic kidney disease (CKD) and hyperthyroidism. Other causes include hyperaldosteronism (Conn’s syndrome), chronic blood loss adrenal tumours and erythropoietin therapy

Unfortunately hypertension is often only suspected very late in the course. The target organs most vulnerable to hypertensive damage are the brain (usually behavioural, night vocalization, signs of dementia), heart, kidneys and eyes (blindness). The goal of managing high blood pressure is to identify and treat underlying causes, and to reduce systemic blood pressure to an ideal range with anti-hypertensive medications.

Blood pressure should be evaluated as a routine part of check-ups for all cats past 7 years of age. We can help measure your feline friend’s blood pressure with a Doppler machine at their next visit for their wellness check.

Blood pressure checks

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Tiny is just on his way home after having his blood pressure checked. He sat quietly while we wrapped a cuff around his arm. He thought the cold gel we put on his wrist for the Doppler probe was the worst part.

Because a cat's pulse is so small we have to amplify it with the Doppler. We pump the cuff up until we cannot hear the pulse and then slowly let the air out until we hear the pulse. At this point we read his blood pressure from the dial.

Tiny has a heart murmur and kidney problems. Heart disease often lowers the blood pressure but kidney failure increases it. Fortunately Dr Kate found that Tiger's blood pressure is quite normal.


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A calm, quiet haven for cats and their carers staffed by experienced, cat loving vets and nurses.

Canberra Cat Vet 16-18 Purdue St Belconnen ACT 2617 (parking off Gillott Street) Phone: (02) 6251-1444

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