Understanding the barriers to blood pressure assessment in cats

Sarah MA Caney*, Su Page , Danielle Gunn-Moore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

OBJECTIVES: A questionnaire was designed to survey veterinarians and veterinary nurses/technicians on blood pressure (BP) assessment in cats, including ocular examination, encompassing current methodology, indications, uptake and barriers. METHODS: An online questionnaire was produced and promoted to more than 2000 veterinary professionals, of whom 545 answered all questions and 85 answered most questions. RESULTS: Of the participants, 572 (90.8%) were based in the UK and almost all (n = 613, 97.3%) had access to a BP monitor. Of those that had a monitor, most (n = 550, 88.4%) participants had access to a Doppler monitor; 367 (59.0%) participants had access to multiparameter monitors; fewer (n = 202, 32.5%) had access to oscillometric BP monitors. Where applicable, Doppler monitors were most commonly chosen for conscious cat measurements (n = 337, 72.2%) due to the greater 'trust' and 'reliability' of these compared with oscillometric machines. Conscious BP measurement typically involved two members of staff (n = 391, 62.9%). Only 156 (29.1%) participants recommended BP assessment at least several times a week in their interactions with cat owners. BP assessment was routinely recommended in cats with ocular target organ damage (n = 365, 87.7%), chronic kidney disease (n = 346, 78.6%), proteinuria (n = 255, 63.0%) and hyperthyroidism (n = 266, 60.9%). Common equipment-related barriers included 'cuff frustration' and difficulties hearing the pulse signal for Doppler users (72.2% and 71.6%, respectively), and oscillometric machines failing to give a reading at least some of the time (52.8%). Situational hypertension concerns affected many (n = 507, 92.0%), as did lack of time to do the procedure (n = 402, 73.0%). Significant owner barriers included difficulties persuading the owner to bring their cat in for BP checks (n = 475, 86.2%) and concerns over costs (n = 445, 80.8%). Most participants had access to a direct ophthalmoscope (n = 527, 96.5%); however, 399 (73.1%) reported that they struggled to interpret ocular findings. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Significant barriers exist to successful BP assessment in cats. Education and support of clinics should focus on improving confidence with equipment and eye examination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Feline Medicine and Surgery
Volume25
Issue number8
Early online date7 Aug 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Aug 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • hypertension
  • blood pressure
  • Doppler
  • oscillometric
  • multiparameter

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