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Vets urged to take feline blood pressure readings
The mean age of hypertensive cats in the study was 13 years old.

CEVA Animal Health reveals frindings from its Mercury Challenge initative. 

Veterinary professionals are being encouraged to take blood pressure readings from cats to detect hypertension before clinical signs develop.

The call from CEVA Animal Health comes after the launch of its Mercury Challenge – an international health initiative in which vets across Europe were asked to take blood pressure measurements from more than 10,000 cats - 4,000 of which were in the UK.

Results of the challenge, revealed at the Ceva Cat Expertise 2021, showed more than 40 per cent of cats enrolled in the initiative were hypertensive, with a blood pressure reading 30 per cent higher than in normal cats.

This percentage suggests that feline hypertension may be more prevalent than expected, Ceva said, particularly with the mean age of hypertensive cats in the challenge being 13 years old.

Results also show that the risk of hypertension increases as cats get older, or if they have other conditions such as chronic kidney disease (CKD). One in three cats in the Mercury Challenge was diagnosed with both conditions. 

On vet who participated in the Mercury Challenge was Jodie Tanner from Lime Tree Vets in Staffordshire.

Jodie said: “We were surprised by how many of the cats whose blood pressure we measured as part of the Mercury Challenge were actually hypertensive and were taken aback at the number of hypertensive cats which lacked clinical signs or target organ damage. These hypertensive cats would have previously gone undetected pror to us screening our older patients and they would probably have only presented when they had advanced target organ damage, such as blindness.

“Measuring blood pressure in cats is now incorporated into our bespoke preventative health care plan – The Pet Plus Membership – and our ‘Gold Plan’ is tailored to our patients over eight years of age. Included in the Gold Plan are twice yearly blood pressure checks, so we can pick up hypertension cases as early as possible, and the plan also includes twice yearly urine screens and yearly blood screens to pick up other common diseases seen in older cats such as hyperthyroidism and CKD.”
Feline hypertension often occurs without any early signs, and when symptoms do occur, it is often too late. The condition can seriously affect the function of the heart, brain, kidneys and eyes.

Early diagnosis is crucial to prevent severe damage. Nine out of 10 cats in the Mercury Challenge were calm and cooperative during their blood pressure readings, which lasted no longer than 10 minutes.

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Vets asked to opt-in to Scottish SPCA fostering programme

News Story 1
 The Scottish SPCA is encouraging veterinary practices to opt into its new fostering programme, by agreeing to register foster animals when approached by one of the foster carers.

The programme goes live in August 2021, and will help to rehabilitate animals under the Scottish SPCA's care until they are able to be properly re-homed. The programme will help the animals to receive care and attention in a stable and happy home environment, as some animals do not cope with a rescue and re-homing centre environment as well as others.

Specific information for veterinary practices on the new programme can be found at 

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News Shorts
Webinar provides insight into old age pets

A new webinar providing insights into the BSAVA PetSavers Old Age Pets citizen science project is now available free of charge to its members via the BSAVA Library

The webinar presents an exclusive insight into the research process and progression of the study, which aims to help veterinary professionals and owners provide the best care for their senior dogs.

It also discusses the study's research methods, the researchers' personal interests in this area of study, and how they envisage the findings being used to create a guidance tool to improve discussions between vets and owners about their ageing dogs.