On careful examination, and with his front legs firmly
restrained by his owner, I managed to get close enough to
see that Floyd's retinas, at the back of his eyes, were
detached. This is most frequently caused by high blood pressure
In cats, the commonest reason for hypertension is kidney
disease, hence the reason that we recommend that any cat
diagnosed with kidney problems has their blood pressure
checked regularly. Over-active thyroid glands, if not controlled
by medication, can also have the same effect. But in some
cats, the hypertension is "idiopathic" - ie: we
cannot identify an underlying cause.
My next task was to check Floyd's blood pressure - not
a prospect I relished, as we usually use an artery in the
front leg, where Floyd's extremely sharp claws were located.
In difficult cats, we can use the tail instead, and this
was what we had to do in his case.
Our other problem was that to get an accurate reading,
our subject must be calm. Any patient who is angry is likely
to have high blood pressure, but this may simply be down
to mood rather than disease. Thus, we spent a considerable
amount of time letting Floyd settle down, and we took numerous
readings to make sure we were accurate.
He did indeed have an exceptionally high blood pressure,
but his blood tests showed that his kidneys and thyroid
were OK. Thus he was started on blood pressure tablets.
Much to Floyd's disgust, his blood pressure proved somewhat
tricky to control, so he had to return several times to
monitor the effect of increasing his dose of medication.
At last, we have got his blood pressure (but not his temper!)
under control, so - much to everyones' relief, Floyd won't
need to come back for some time.
Young BVSc CertSAM MRCVS
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