Your pet’s health is important and preventive care is necessary. We recommend wellness exams, keeping your pets on a vaccination schedule, and working with us on all facets of wellness care. It’s no secret that preventive care is much better than treating illness and disease.
How we work to prevent heartworm in cats.
Because there is no treatment for feline heartworm disease, it is imperative that your cat is given a monthly heartworm preventive medication. Research has shown that indoor cats are also at risk of heartworm infection, so heartworm preventives should be administered to all cats—indoor and outdoor.
Annual visits, booster vaccinations, and other preventive care allow us to watch your pet’s health progress over time, so we’re ahead of the curve is something develops at any stage of their life.
How heartworm can affect cats.
Cats are not natural hosts for heartworms, so the parasites often won’t survive to the adult stage in felines. Infected cats will usually have zero to three adult worms inside their bodies, while their canine counterparts can have 30 or more adult worms inside their bodies. But, even immature heartworms can wreak havoc on a cat’s organs and can lead to heartworm-associated respiratory disease (HARD) and other health conditions.
How heartworm is spread to cats.
When a mosquito carrying heartworm larvae bites a cat, it can pass the larvae into the bloodstream of the cat. The larvae then travel through the cat’s body until they reach the blood vessels in the lungs and heart.
How we diagnose heartworm in cats.
There are no telltale clinical signs of heartworm disease in cats, which makes diagnosing the disease a challenge. Some cats might exhibit:
- Coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Difficulty walking
- Decreased appetite and weight loss
- Sudden collapse or sudden death
To determine if your cat is suffering from heart disease, we may conduct several diagnostic tests, including blood tests, urinalysis, X-ray, and ultrasound.
Treating heartworm in cats
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for feline heartworm disease. The medication that treats heartworms in dogs is not safe for cats. If your cat is diagnosed with heartworm disease, we will attempt to stabilize him and manage his symptoms.
Want to schedule an appointment to discuss your cat’s preventative care? Click here!