Monday, November 12, 2012

What is wrong with TOBY?

Toby could have lost his sight.  Or developed kidney failure.  This beautiful 12 year old boy is SO lucky that his owners were able to recognize the subtle but abnormal changes occuring in his eye.  What they noticed was a small red area developing in the margin of the iris (the colored part of the eye).  It was not bothering Toby, and he was acting perfectly normal.  But he was suffering from HYPERTENSION, or elevated blood pressure.  This elevated pressure was causing damage to the fragile blood vessels in the iris of one eye.  And could have caused him to go blind....thank goodness I was able to help him before that happened.

HYPERTENSION is a disease of people, and has many causative factors:  genetics, obesity, stress, poor diet, sedentary life style, smoking...  But did you know that high blood pressure is a real threat to your cat as they age as well?  Several of the common diseases seen in older cats, such as kidney disease, diabetes, obesity, hyperthyroidism can be associated with high  blood pressure. 

HYPERTENSION in people (and animals) is a HIDDEN DISEASE.  The blood pressure can be high without ANY outward signs. Toby actually was the lucky one -with an outward sign in his eye before severe damage was done to the rest of his body.  Measuring the BLOOD PRESSURE is the only reliable way to know what is going on at the level of the blood vessels (which is what this is all about!).   Measuring a blood pressure on a cat is very similar to what we are all familiar with -the cuff, and the pressure gauge on your upper arm.  The challenge is that most cats do not appreciate having their feet worked with, and Toby was definitely in this category! 

The benefits of having blood pressure measured in your older cat definitely outways the challenge of taking the measurement.  I recommend having this test done for  any senior cat that is diagnosed with thyroid disease, kidney disease, diabetes, or in the healthy geriatric catagory.  It is a simeple, inexpensive test, and can be SO IMPORTANT to the health and vision of your older cat.  Toby is now on daily medication to control his high blood pressure, and his eyesight is no longer at risk, thanks to Toby's loving owners.

If you found this information helpful, please pass it on to your cat loving friends.  Thanks for following!
Dr. Maureen Flatley
Fox Valley Cat Clinic