Blood Pressure Measurements in 780 Apparently Healthy Cats

J Vet Intern Med. 2017 Jan;31(1):15-21. doi: 10.1111/jvim.14625. Epub 2016 Dec 1.


Background: Mean systolic blood pressure in apparently healthy cats has been reported as approximately 125 mmHg using direct assessment, but there is greater variability in reported values using indirect assessment. Increasing age and the white-coat effect are associated with increased systolic blood pressure.

Hypothesis/objectives: To report Doppler-derived blood pressure measurements from a large population of apparently healthy cats and to assess epidemiologic factors associated with recorded blood pressures.

Animals: A total of 780 cats in rehoming centers enrolled in a screening program for heart murmurs and cardiac disease.

Methods: Cats were considered healthy based on history and physical examination. Cats with known hypertension, hyperthyroidism, or clinical signs of systemic disease and pregnant or nursing queens were excluded. After an acclimatization period, systolic blood pressure was measured using the Doppler sphygmomanometry method following the recommendations of the ACVIM Consensus Statement. General linear model analysis was performed to identify factors associated with variation in systolic blood pressure.

Results: Median (interquartile range, IQR) systolic blood pressure for the group was 120.6 (110.4-132.4) mmHg. Factors significantly associated with higher systolic blood pressure in a general linear model were increased age, increased nervousness, male sex, neutering, or history of being a stray. The model explained 29.2% of the variation in systolic blood pressure.

Conclusions and clinical importance: The age, demeanor, sex, neuter status and history of being a stray should be taken into account when assessing systolic blood pressure in apparently healthy cats.

Keywords: Feline; Hypertension; Screening; Shelter.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Cats / physiology*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • Systole*