ONE in five cats suffers from potentially deadly high blood pressure – but their owners are unaware of the warning signs.

It can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart problems and brain bleeds — with felines aged seven and older more prone to the condition.

 Lucy was able to save cat Coco's sight after diagnosing her high blood pressure

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Lucy was able to save cat Coco’s sight after diagnosing her high blood pressure

A Paws & Claws survey of 2,000 cat owners found that eight out of ten animal lovers did not know cats can develop high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.

An estimated 20 per cent of moggies — aged seven and above — are at risk of developing the problem.

And the International Society of Feline Medicine, ISFM, which campaigns nationally for cat welfare, recommends blood pressure checks every year for cats aged over seven.

Our survey, conducted by CEVA Animal Health UK, found that only 15 per cent of cat owners knew there was even a link between high blood pressure and sight issues and only 18 per cent have had their pets tested.

The seven warning signs owners should look for are seizures, circling around, disorientation, blindness, retinal detachment, bloodshot eyes and blood in the urine.

Pet Vet Sean McCormack said: “Hypertension is something we want to watch out for as our cats get older. If caught early it is easily managed and can prevent a range of problems.

“It’s worth asking your vet to measure your cat’s blood pressure if you’re worried. If your cat does have hypertension, your vet can prescribe medication to manage it.”

Lucy Patton’s cat Coco almost lost his sight earlier this year due to undiagnosed high blood pressure.

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‘SKY HIGH’

She said: “Coco was showing signs of losing his sight, becoming disorientated and walking into things at home. I asked my vet for a blood pressure reading and it was sky high.

“He told me it could be too late to save his sight. But Coco has now been on medication for four months and his sight is showing signs of improvement.

“He is able to locate where his food and water bowls are and his bed.

“We wish we could have spotted the signs or been offered a blood pressure check earlier as we now know medication can help and the sooner it’s started, the better.”

Star of the week

AFTER Ella was thrown from a building in Egypt, lost one leg, damaged another and broke her spinal cord, her chances of survival were slim.

The German Shepherd cross had dragged herself around an animal shelter for three years until Victoria Bryceson, from charity Miracle’s Mission, spotted her.

The events organiser, from Carlisle, told Paws & Claws: “She was in a really bad condition and was going to die. I couldn’t leave her there.”

After months of paperwork, Ella was taken back to the UK, where Victoria arranged for her to have special wheels so she can move around like other dogs.

Victoria, 33, said: “Ella is by far the strongest and bravest girl I have met. She is a true inspiration to everyone.

“It is difficult to get anywhere in public with Ella as she is stopped by 90 per cent of people to hear her story.

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“Everyone she meets falls in love with her. She has had a horrific life but despite this she is still so happy and determined to keep going.”

Pet Vet

SEAN McCormack, head vet at tailored food firm tails.com, is on a mission to help the nation’s pets.

Bernie Southworth has a ten-year-old, long-haired Jack Russell called Jess who is eating anything she can get hold of.

 Pets can be mischievous and devious but still need love and care

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Pets can be mischievous and devious but still need love and careCredit: Getty – Contributor

She knocks the bins over and even tries to eat the cat litter tray. Bernie used to feed her three times a day but was told that was too much so has cut it back to twice.

Her bloods at the vet are fine, she gets lots of exercise but her stomach is on the floor. Sean says: “Sudden increase in appetite in a ten- year-old-dog like Jess can be a sign of an underlying condition like diabetes or other hormonal conditions.

“The number of times you feed doesn’t matter, the quality and quantity does. Is she getting the correct amount of food with the right nutrients? First look at her food and the amount you are feeding her. “

Barbar Coughlan, 54, from Paignton, Devon, has pygmy goats but recently has noticed they are suffering with eczema or itching. She says: “They have a diet of hay and nutritional pellets. Could oil in their diet be a good idea?”

Our vet suggested Sudocrem baby nappy rash cream. Sean says: “Itchy skin can be caused by many things. Good nutrition is the foundation for general health and good skin and coat condition.

“Quality hay and nutritional pellets are a good staple diet, but it’s important to also include fresh “browse” ingredients such as grass and trees to graze on.

“Sudocrem will soothe the skin, but may not address the underlying problem. If it does not improve with diet changes and applying cream for a week or so, check with your vet to rule out bacteria, fungal infections or parasites.”

  • SEND your questions for the Pet Vet to sundayfeatures@the-sun.co.uk

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