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  • Writer's pictureShannon McKinzie

April is Heartworm Prevention Month

What Are Heartworms and How They Affect Cats?

Heartworm is a serious disease, but unfortunately, many cat owners don’t even know about it. April is heartworm awareness month, so we have decided to play our part to spread awareness about this disease.

What Is Heartworm Disease and How it Affect Cats?

When a parasite enters the cat’s body and takes residence in the heart, blood vessels, and lungs, it becomes heartworm disease. Many cat owners don’t know about this disease, but it can cause heart and kidney failure in cats. In cats, heartworms don’t grow into adults, and cats only carry one to three worms. Therefore, this disease often goes unnoticed in cats, but it can be more fatal for cats than dogs.

Is Heartworm Disease Different in Cats?

Yes, it’s different when compared to dogs. Heartworms don’t live as long or grow in cats. Most of them don’t even convert to adults. Cats have small body sizes, so only one or two worms can cause significant damage. Furthermore, it’s difficult to diagnose heartworms in cats. Therefore, vets use a combination of two tests to detect heartworm disease in cats. A negative result doesn’t mean that that disease doesn’t infect your cat. Vets combine these reports with symptoms and perform an X-ray and ultrasound of the heart to find if a cat is suffering from heartworm disease.

Signs of Heartworm Disease in Cats

Like dogs, many cats don’t even show symptoms and get rid of heartworms without any symptoms. Remember, some cats even die without having signs of getting sick. Some symptoms can be weight loss, decreased appetite, vomiting, and decreased activity. Moreover, cats with heartworm disease rarely face heart failure. Cats often show symptoms of respiratory problems because heartworms damage the lungs badly. Your feline friend will show signs at two points when the adult heartworms die and when the heartworms arrive in the heart and lungs' blood vessels. When the heartworms die in the lungs, it will cause trouble breathing, cough, and increased respiratory rate. So worm death is also not good for cats.

Heartworm Prevention and Treatment for Cats

Some oral and topical products are FDA-approved and used for heartworm prevention in cats. They are used monthly, according to the vet’s recommendations. Heartworm preventatives also contain some ingredients to fight against other intestinal worms and parasites. We emphasize again and again that prevention is the best, so consult your vet and ask for the best preventatives for your cat.

How to Choose Heartworm Preventatives for Cats?

Once you decide to choose preventative options, the next step is how to select preventive medications. Ensure that you purchase medications prescribed by licensed vets. These medications might include chewable tablets, injections, or spot-on treatment. Vets can help you maintain the strict schedules for preventative care to prevent your cat from becoming a heartworm disease victim.

Final Words

As most cat owners know that April is heartworm awareness month, we should spread awareness about it to save our feline friends. You can share this article so that more people can read it and protect their cats from this fatal disease.

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