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Heartworm in Cats

April is Heartworm Awareness Month! While heartworms aren’t a very pleasant topic, it is important for pet owners to know what they are, and understand the dangers they pose to our furry friends. Heartworms are often considered a danger to dogs, but they are also very dangerous to kitties. A local Dallas, GA vet discusses heartworms in cats below.

Basics

The basics of heartworm infestations play out very similarly for cats as they do with dogs. Heartworms are not passed directly from kitty to kitty. Instead, they are transmitted via mosquitos, by way of infected blood, which contains heartworm larvae. Once a pet has been infected, it takes about 6 months for the worms to reach adult size. However, this is where things play out differently with Fluffy. In dogs, the adult worms start to multiply, and take up Cats’ bodies aren’t particularly hospitable to the worms, so most worms die before reproducing. That doesn’t mean Fluffy is off the hook, though. Even a single worm can cause severe, permanent, and potentially fatal damage to your furry pal’s vital organs. Unfortunately, kitties sometimes die suddenly from heartworms, even if they haven’t shown any symptoms.

Treatment

As you may know, there are treatments available for dogs that have been infested. Unfortunately, the medicines that are used to treat heartworms in dogs are not made for cats. And, while it’s rare to find more than one or two live adult worms in a cat, their physiology makes treating them more difficult. Ask your vet for more information.

Prevention

When it comes to pet care, we always advise erring on the side of caution. The best way to keep your feline friend safe is to keep up with her parasite prevention regime. It’s also important to get Fluffy tested regularly. Your kitty will also need testing before starting on a new heartworm prevention program. If your furry pal hasn’t been on heartworm prevention for a while, contact your vet. That said, it also won’t hurt to do things to cut back on the mosquito population. Dump any standing water that has collected in things like buckets or plant pots, and do what you can to help out bats, birds, and other things that eat mosquitoes.

Please reach out to us, your local Dallas, GA veterinary clinic, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs. We are always here to help!

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