Heartworm Protection For Cats


Unlike common belief, heartworm isn't solely a dog issue. Cats, though not natural hosts, can still be affected. In cats, heartworms often don't reach adulthood, but there's no treatment available for feline heartworm disease. Therefore, the best way to protect your cat is through preventative measures.

Know The Risks Of Heartworm

It's important to know that heartworms spread from one host to another solely through mosquito bites. This means that even if heartworm is not directly contagious, the presence of mosquitoes poses a significant risk to your cat. Given that mosquitoes can easily enter homes, even indoor cats are not immune to heartworm.

Why Is Heartworm Prevention Important?

While cats are less likely to develop heartworm disease, no treatments are available if they do. The medications used to treat heartworm in dogs are not safe for cats. To protect your cat from this painful and dangerous disease, it is essential to administer regular heartworm-preventative medication.

Signs And Symptoms Of Heartworm In Cats

A challenge for pet owners is that cats often show no signs of heartworm disease until it's too late. This makes regular testing and prevention crucial.

The most common symptoms in cats include coughing, difficulty breathing, and vomiting. In some cases, cats may also exhibit lethargy, weight loss, seizures, and even sudden death.

Diagnosis Of Heartworm In Cats

Early diagnosis is crucial for the best chance of recovery from heartworms. Before starting your cat on heartworm prevention medication, testing for existing heartworm infection is essential.

Detecting heartworm in cats is more challenging than in dogs. While a simple blood test can diagnose heartworm in dogs, cats require both antigen and antibody tests. Additionally, diagnosing heartworm in cats may involve X-rays, ultrasounds, urine tests, or white blood cell counts.

Heartworm Prognosis For Cats

Even though there is no treatment to eliminate adult heartworms in cats, the outlook is not entirely negative. Your vet can manage the symptoms of heartworm disease to help maintain your cat's health as the heartworms go through their life cycle. This management might involve reducing inflammation in the heart and lungs, addressing breathing problems, and providing general nursing care. Since the heartworm life cycle in cats is shorter than in dogs, and cats have a more robust immune response, up to 80% of cats can recover within 2-4 years after diagnosis.


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