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Cat Heartworm – Everything you need to know

on June 17, 2016
Posted in General

 Everything you need to know about Heartworm in cats (but were afraid to ask!)

Although it is a dog parasite, cats do get heartworm disease. Felines are an abnormal host for the heartworm, but it can cause devastating disease in the cat. Here are some important facts:

Heartworm has been diagnosed in all 50 States of the United States and in Canada. If dogs in your area require heartworm preventive then so do cats. Infected mosquitoes spread heartworm.  3 out of 4 cats exposed to heartworm mosquitoes become infected.

Adult heartworms live 2 to 4 years in the cat. Even 1 immature heartworm can cause significant disease in the lungs of your cat as they cause  an inflammatory reaction in the lungs and blood vessels causing breathing difficulties for your kitty.

Heartworm tests in cats don’t always catch the infection. Cats get heartworm as frequently as dogs but it is more difficult to diagnose and to treat.

There are no approved medications for treating heartworm in cats. If your cat contracts heartworm the best you can do it treat the symptoms and wait for the parasite to die. Prevention is much better!

1 in 4 cases of heartworm occur in indoor cats. These cats need protection too because mosquitos come inside.

Only 5 % of cats are on heartworm preventive. If more people realized how serious this condition is in cats, more cats would be on prevention. Talk to your veterinarian about this disease.

There are no effective, natural heartworm preventives. This is one case where you need to use a pharmaceutical to get the job done! Oral or topical preparations are available to protect your cat during mosquito season.

Read also: How Princess Molly overcomes canine liver disease and stomach tumor

Our Expert

Dr. Janice Huntingford
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan

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