Heartworm in Cats: An Important Guide
What is Heartworm in Cats?
Heartworm is a parasitic worm transmitted to cats via mosquito bites. These worms live in the heart and lungs of affected cats.
How Do Cats Get Heartworm?
Cats contract heartworms through a mosquito bite. When a mosquito feeds on a cat, it deposits a larva that enters the bloodstream and matures into worms in the heart and lungs.
Various products, including oral and topical options like Bravecto, can help prevent cat heartworms. Preventatives are generally administered either monthly or bi-monthly.
Spotting Heartworm Symptoms
Symptoms may include coughing, labored breathing, pale gums, lethargy, and gastrointestinal issues like vomiting and weight loss. Unlike dogs, cats are not natural heartworm hosts, so that symptoms may be less common but still severe.
Diagnosing heartworm in cats involves a simple blood test sent to a lab, with results usually returned within a few days.
Importance of Early Detection
Early detection is crucial, as there is currently no effective treatment for killing heartworms in cats. The focus is on managing symptoms and preventing future infections.
Cat heartworm disease is 100% preventable when prevention is administered consistently and on time.
Environment and Heartworm Risk
Keeping your cat indoors can significantly reduce the risk of heartworm infection.
If you miss a dose, continue with the next one and consult your vet. Even cats with heartworms should remain on preventatives to avoid further infection.
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