A prospective study was undertaken to measure blood pressure in cats with diabetes mellitus. Fourteen cats with diabetes mellitus and 19 healthy control cats were included in the study. All of the diabetic cats were receiving insulin as part of their treatment. The degree of glycemic control in the diabetic cats was evaluated by measuring serum fructosamine concentration and they were assigned to groups based on control. Three cats were classified as having good control, one cat had fair-to-good control, six had fair control, one fair-to-poor control, and three poor control. The fundus of each cat was evaluated by indirect ophthalmoscopy for evidence of hypertension. No signs of hypertensive retinopathy were seen in any of the cats. Echocardiography was performed on 13 of the diabetic cats. One had evidence of left ventricular hypertrophy, and four had evidence of left atrial enlargement. A Doppler flow detector incorporating a 9.6-MHz probe and a neonatal cuff were used to measure systolic blood pressure. None of the cats was considered to have hypertension (mean SD systolic pressure, 157+/- 9.8 mm HG and 161 +/- 17 mm Hg for control and diabetic cats, respectively).

COMMENTARY: Diabetes mellitus is a frequent cause of hypertension in humans and dogs. The fact that this study found no incidence of hypertension in diabetic feline patients is remarkable, especially since cats seem very susceptible to hypertension and have a high incidence of hypertension in renal insufficiency (over 90%) and hyperthyroidism (87%). Once again, the cat demonstrates its unique response to disease.

Systolic blood pressure in cats with diabetes mellitus. Sennello KA, Schulman RL, Prosek R, Siegel AM. JAVMA 223:198-201, 2003.