Feline Low Blood Pressure Symptoms

Hypotension or low blood pressure in felines can be a consequence of blood loss or trauma but may also be a condition with unknown causes. The normal values of feline blood pressure are between 80/90 and 160/170. Values bellow 80 to 90 systolic will cause low blood pressure symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore.

Causes of Hypotension

Low blood pressure in felines may be caused by:

  • Trauma
  • Blood loss
  • Certain drugs that decrease the blood pressure
  • Kidney failure
  • Thyroid problems
  • Cardiomyopathy, when the heart muscle is weakened and cannot pump the necessary amount of blood, causing a decreased blood pressure
  • Anaphylactic shock; if a cat is highly allergic to a substance (i.e. chemicals, insect/snake bites)
  • Severe dehydration

Cats may also have a low blood pressure for no determined cause.

Signs and Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure

When a cat has a low blood pressure, the amount of blood that carries oxygen and nutrients will be insufficient and may cause different symptoms including:

  • Dizziness and fainting, when there is not enough oxygen in the brain cells; these symptoms may occur when the cat suddenly changes his position from a sitting to a standing one
  • Lethargy and general weakness, as the body does not receive the necessary amount of nutrients
  • Pale gums; the normal color of the gums should be pink, however, cats with low blood pressure may have gums that are light pink or even white
  • Chest pain or even heart attack, if there is not enough pressure to deliver blood to the coronary arteries
  • Fast and superficial breathing, due to the lack of oxygen in the lungs
  • Excessive thirst caused by an increased level of toxic materials in the blood; this occurs when there is not enough pressure to supply the kidneys, so the kidneys will fail to remove the waste substances from the body and these materials will remain in the blood stream

Some of these symptoms may not be present in your cat, depending on the severity of the decrease in blood pressure. Some cats with low blood pressure may not present any visible symptoms or behavior and activity changes.

If you notice any symptoms in your cat, you should consult the vet for an evaluation.

Treating Hypotension

The blood pressure of the cat can be measured and if the values indicate hypotension, the vet will look for an underlying cause. If the cause is detected, the vet will administer treatment. The treatment may consist of blood transfusions, fluid therapy or suitable treatment for thyroid or heart problems.

However, if the low blood pressure has no determined cause and it does not cause severe symptoms, the condition may not require treatment.

If the blood pressure is severely decreased and is left untreated, this may have serious consequences. The blood carries nutrients and oxygen to the vital organs and if these are deprived of the needed nutrients and oxygen may be damaged. In extreme cases, low blood pressure will cause organ failure.