Heartworm Disease in Cats is a Health Concern
By Claude West “The Cat Man”
You may have noticed that in the last ten years there has been more talk about heartworm disease in cats.
Whereas before it was about the disease in dogs. Information on areas that have high incidences with heartworm. Indicates that the prevalence of heartworm disease in cats can be as high as feline leukemia and FIV infections.
Heartworm disease is very different in cats than dogs. Cats are not the natural host for heartworms where dogs are. The heartworm causes problems in dogs when the adult worms become very large and obstruct the flow of blood to the heart. With cats, the presence of heartworm causes a large immune reaction. In addition, the population of adult worms is low compared to dogs. The few adult worms that survive become to large and block blood flow. This can be fatal to your cat.
Heartworm disease in cats:
Infections in cats, the immature heartworms tend to cause respiratory symptoms. They first invade the pulmonary system causing an immune response in the lungs. The combination of worm obstructions from adult worms and elevated immune response makes heartworm disease serious to your cat’s health. Because so few worms make it to adulthood in a cat. The tests for heartworm infection in cats can be misleading even show negative in an infected cat.
Treatment for cats with heartworm disease:
Treatment for cats is more of a watch and waiting game. The cat’s immune system is very efficient and treatments are limited. The drug given to dogs for heartworm is toxic for cats and is not a recommended. There is a two to three year waiting period before your cat can be considered free of heartworm. Current veterinary protocol for dogs and cats are spot treatments. Revolution being the preferred drug with the least known toxic effects.
Natural approach to heartworm disease:
The holistic approach to combating heartworm is keeping your cat’s immune system strong with supplements (check out the cat store). Combined with feeding your cat a natural specie specific diet.
Heartworm disease transmits to your cat from mosquito bites. Therefore, prevention is eliminating standing water on your property. You can try to keep your cat indoors during the summer, (good luck). In areas where there are few mosquitoes, concern for heartworm disease is low.
Most communities have mosquito abatement programs. Yet some areas always have standing water and abatement programs are not as effective. High foreclosure incidences creates mosquito problems due to swimming pools not in service. Pay attention to your neighbors if mosquitoes become prevalent.
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