Prevent Heartworm in Cats
If you are a feline-lover, then you no doubt know the importance
of keeping your cat healthy and free of disease. However,
you may not fully realize the serious risk that heartworms
pose to your pet cat. Heartworm in cats is common, and it
is also a threat to dogs and other small mammals. The illness
is spread from animal to animal by mosquitoes.
a mosquito feeds on an animal that is infected with heartworms,
it, in turn, becomes infected with the heartworm larvae existing
in the bloodstream of the animal it bit. The infected mosquito
then bites another animal, and thus the disease continues
its spread. It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito
for your cat to get heartworms, so even felines who only venture
outside occasionally are at risk.
Symptoms of heartworm in cats include difficulty breathing,
gagging, vomiting, fatigue, and weight loss among others.
Since these symptoms often overlap with other common feline
health issues, it can be hard to know for sure whether your
cat is, in fact, suffering from heartworms. To make matters
even more confusing, clinical tests conducted at the veterinarian’s
office to test for antigens in the bloodstream are often inconclusive.
Although cats are slightly less susceptible to the disease
than dogs, there is no treatment for heartworm in cats as
there is for dogs, making the prevention of heartworm in cats
especially important, a priority for any pet owner. Although
cats will sometimes rid themselves of heartworms on their
own, other times, they go into shock and can potentially die
from the disease.
Fending off mosquitoes with sprays and other repellents
will not be sufficient in preventing your pet from getting
heartworm. Although it may help reduce the risk to some degree,
it is not the recommended course of action. There are a variety
of more effective preventative measures such as topical ointments,
chewables, and pills; most of them are sold for the treatment
of both cats and dogs. Unfortunately, the six-month injectable
treatment for dogs has not been approved for use in felines.
You will probably end up administering the heartworm treatment
to your cat on a daily or monthly basis. Of course, in order
to ensure utmost effectiveness, you must remember to give
it to your pet at the appropriate time and avoid skipping
doses, even when you have not seen a mosquito around for weeks.
Getting out of the habit of administering the medicine can
cause you to forget doses when the mosquitoes do start swarming
again, and that could be a costly oversight for your feline
Preventing heartworm in cats is not at all complicated;
it simply takes a little know-how, some diligence, and a minimal
expense. Once you become aware of the serious health hazards
associated with the disease, you will realize that taking
steps to prevent it is the only humane thing to do. Although
you may not particularly enjoy the hassle of buying and administering
medicine to your cat, it is surely but a small sacrifice to
make when it comes to the health and vitality of your pet.