Hypotension in cats can last for long periods of time and cause no problems, or it can hit suddenly and be a life threatening situation.
This condition can be caused by heat stroke, heart problems, and a loss of blood from some type of an injury, or very low body temperatures.
It may also be caused by a blood infection, severe dehydration, or an allergic reaction.
If it becomes severe enough and causes your cat to go into shock, or if they go into shock and it causes hypotension, it has now become a life threatening situation for your cat.
Hypotension in cats is low blood pressure and understanding their normal ranges of pressure is very helpful in understanding this potentially very dangerous condition.
The normal systolic range, which means maximum, is between 110 and 160 mmHg.
The term mmHg means milliliters of mercury, and the diastolic range, which is the minimum, ranges between 55 and 100 mmHg.
Hypotension in cats is defined as your pets pressure measuring 90/55 or lower.
The blood pressure in your cat reveals the pressure within their vessels.
If this pressure becomes either extreme or very low, it can and often does lead to a significant illness or is a warning sign that your cat has a significant condition.
In most cases, when your pet’s blood pressure is taken, it is to measure hypertension and not hypotension in cats.
When your veterinarian takes your cats blood pressure, it is done to test the pressure of the blood against the walls of the blood vessels.
This pressure determines how your cat’s heart is pumping, as well as the resistance to the flow of blood in the small arteries.
It also helps to determine the elasticity of the walls in their main arteries, and how much blood is present as well as the thickness.
Your cat can have their blood pressure taken in two different ways; direct and indirect.
If it is done directly, an indwelling catheter is placed in their artery and then is attached to a mechanical pressure transducer.
This transducer than monitors their heart rate and respiratory rate, as well as oxygen tensions; and the indirect method is done much the same as with people, as an inflatable cuff is used.
When taking your cats blood pressure this way, your veterinarian will clip a small amount of hair away from the underside of their paw of either the front or back leg closet to the arterial pulse.
They will then place a conductive gel on that spot as well as a sensor.
Your cats leg is too small for a stethoscope, and because of this, a blood pressure cuff is used to help in amplifying the sound.
Hypotension in cats has several potential causes and while the exact cause may never be determined, the type of low blood pressure helps in identifying the cause.
There will be two different types of low blood pressure that may affect your cat; extended or sudden.
One of the most common causes for extended hypotension in cats is pregnancy as well as hormonal problems.
Hormonal problems can include an under-active thyroid, which is known as hypothyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, which is called hyperthyroidism.
It may also be the result of diabetes, especially in older cats, or low blood sugar, which is called hypoglycemia.
If your cat is on high blood pressure medication and they are given more than the recommended amount, it will cause their pressure to drop significantly below the safe zone.
Heart failure or abnormal heart rhythms may also be the causes, as well as a liver disease.
However, what is not well known is that heat exhaustion over a period of time will also gradually drop your cat blood pressure.
Over an extended period of time can be a dangerous situation, but not anywhere near as dangerous as a sudden drop in blood pressure.
A sudden drop is a sign that something is terribly wrong with your cat.
There are several potential causes for a sudden drop, but the most common are from bleeding or dehydration.
If your cat has excessive bleeding, either externally or internally, their pressure will drop dramatically.
Dehydration in your cat causes several potential health problems, but none more serious than a sudden drop in blood pressure.
Water is critical in keeping the blood flowing as well as pumping properly in your cat.
If your cats body temperature becomes very low as a result of an accident in a pool or river, or if they are exposed to a heat stroke, their pressure will drop like a rock.
Heart muscle problem, or Sepsis, which is a severe blood infection, may also be the cause of Hypotension in cats.
But there is one other cause, and that is from what is called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can range from mild to severe, and can be life threatening as it is an allergic reaction of some type.
When this occurs, your cat’s blood pressure will drop significantly and show the first set of symptoms.
This condition will also show you an array of symptoms, but if it is caused by anaphylaxis, which is believed to be one of the major causes, the symptoms will be very clear and distinctive.
Your cat will become very weak and wobbly and may not be able to keep their balance.
They may also develop hives, a very sudden and severe itching, and as a result have difficult time breathing as a result of a swollen tongue or throat.
If the underlying cause has developed over time, the following symptoms will graduate in severity; if the drop in blood pressure is rapid, they will show up immediately.
These symptoms include your cat becoming dizzy, light headed, and their vision will become blurred.
If this happens, they may also start to run into objects. But the most chilling symptom will be one that at first may be hard to see, and that is a paling of their skin.
With Hypotension in cats, you will see an almost bluish tint to their gums and lips, and they will very cold when you touch them as they are going into shock.
Their pulse will become very weak as well as very rapid, and they will also start to breathe rapidly.
Hypotension in cats in not nearly as well-known as hypertension, but it is much more dangerous, as it can very easily cause rapid shock in your cat.
Once shock occurs, you have very little time to seek emergency medical treatment.