Cats & Heartworms: Is there a threat?

Post by Trish Manche

When you hear about heartworms, normally you think dogs. All dogs are tested beginning at 1 year and every year following and must be on monthly heartworms prevention. If a dog contracts heartworms, there are treatment protocols that can be used and most dogs can make a recovery.

black cat holding persons arm
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Are heartworms a threat to cats? The answer is, yes, heartworms are a threat to cats and unlike dogs, there is no treatment. Heartworms are transmitted to cats by a mosquito who has bitten an infected dog. Fleas and ticks can also infect cats with other parasites and Lyme’s disease which can weaken their immune system.

Different veterinarians have different schools of thoughts on this issue, but those who err on the side of caution prescribe flea and tick treatment to help provide protection for cats. In an article I reviewed, the vet recommended the product Revolution for cats because not only does it provide heartworm protection but it also provides a monthly dewormer for hook and roundworms and protects against ear mites. However, there are other brands of heartworm prevention such as Bravecto, Heartguard, Inteceptor, and Advantage-Multi. The best thing you can do is keep your cat healthy.

person touching a cat
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How do you know if your cat has been infected? Most commonly there is vomiting with blood as well as their food, gagging, coughing, diarrhea, and difficulty or rapid breathing. This may lead to a lack of appetite which may cause lethargy and a decrease in weight. It can be mistaken for asthma or another bronchial disease. The best defense is protecting your pet from getting this terrible parasite with monthly prevention. If you suspect your cat or kitten has been infected, reach out to your rescue for your foster or your veterinarian for your personal pet.

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