Objective: To characterize clinical and clinicopathologic findings, response to treatment, and causes of systemic hypertension in cats with hypertensive retinopathy.
Design: Retrospective study.
Animals: 69 cats with hypertensive retinopathy.
Procedure: Medical records from cats with systemic hypertension and hypertensive retinopathy were reviewed.
Results: Most cats (68.1%) were referred because of vision loss; retinal detachment, hemorrhage, edema, and degeneration were common findings. Cardiac abnormalities were detected in 37 cats, and neurologic signs were detected in 20 cats. Hypertension was diagnosed concurrently with chronic renal failure (n = 22), hyperthyroidism (5), diabetes mellitus (2), and hyperaldosteronism (1). A clearly identifiable cause for hypertension was not detected in 38 cats; 26 of these cats had mild azotemia, and 12 did not have renal abnormalities. Amlodipine decreased blood pressure in 31 of 32 cats and improved ocular signs in 18 of 26 cats.
Conclusions and clinical relevance: Retinal lesions, caused predominantly by choroidal injury, are common in cats with hypertension. Primary hypertension in cats may be more common than currently recognized. Hypertension should be considered in older cats with acute onset of blindness; retinal edema, hemorrhage, or detachment; cardiac disease; or neurologic abnormalities. Cats with hypertension-induced ocular disease should be evaluated for renal failure, hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus, and cardiac abnormalities. Blood pressure measurements and funduscopic evaluations should be performed routinely in cats at risk for hypertension (preexisting renal disease, hyperthyroidism, and age > 10 years). Amlodipine is an effective antihypertensive agent in cats.