Ceva Animal Health is urging veterinary nurses to take feline blood pressure readings more often, after a study showed that 40% of cats over seven years old may be hypertensive.

The statistic came to light as a result of Ceva's Mercury Challenge1, in which veterinary practices from around Europe took blood pressure readings from over 10,000 cats over seven years old, 4000 of which were from the UK.

The Challenge results, which were recently presented at Ceva Cat Expertise 2021 by the international feline medicine specialist, Dr Andy Sparkes, showed that more than 40% of cats enrolled in the Mercury Challenge were hypertensive, with a blood pressure about 30% higher than the blood pressure value found in healthy cats. 

Ceva says this high percentage suggests that feline hypertension may be even more common than suspected, especially in the ageing cat population, with the mean age of hypertensive cats found to be 13 years old in the Challenge.

The study also found that up to one in three cats had both hypertension and chronic kidney disease (CKD). Feline hypertension is also associated with hyperthyroidism.

Jodie Tanner, veterinary surgeon at Lime Tree Vets in Staffordshire who participated in the Mercury Challenge said: “We were surprised by how many of the cats whose blood pressure we measured as part of the Mercury Challenge were actually hypertensive and were taken aback at the number of hypertensive cats which lacked clinical signs or target organ damage. 

"These hypertensive cats would have previously gone undetected prior to us screening our older patients and they would probably have only presented when they had advanced target organ damage, such as blindness.

“Measuring blood pressure in cats is now incorporated into our bespoke preventative health care plan – The Pet Plus Membership – and our ‘Gold Plan’ is tailored to our patients over eight years of age. 

"Included in the Gold Plan are twice yearly blood pressure checks, so we can pick up hypertension cases as early as possible, and the plan also includes twice yearly urine screens and yearly blood screens to pick up other common diseases seen in older cats such as hyperthyroidism and CKD.”

Ceva has a range of resources available to support veterinary practices, including those that want to set up vet nurse blood pressure clinics. There's a digital hypertension tool kit available by registering at www.easethepressure.co.uk, where you will also find information on the Hypertension CPD Hub, an Ease the Pressure pack containing resources to support vet practices, owner communications materials and information about Ceva’s online Hypertension Ambassador CPD course.  A vet practice social media pack is also available.

For further information, visit www.easethepressure.co.uk or contact your local Ceva territory manager.

Reference

  1. Mercury Challenge, 2020.  Over 10,000 cats over seven years of age including 4,000 in the UK, 1,500 in Spain, 1,300 in Italy and 1,200 in France and the Nordics.

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