Mosquito season is right around the corner. Can your indoor cat be at risk for heart-worm disease? Heart-worm disease is caused by parasites. Heart-worm (Dirofilaria immitis) is a large worm, up to 14 inches long when fully developed and lives in the heart and pulmonary arteries of the infected animal. It is transmitted by mosquitoes that infect both cats and dogs.
Cats of any age could possibly be affected. Cats, one year old through seventeen years old have been diagnosed with heart worms. The last I heard the percentage rate was 33 of reported cases of indoor cats and they may be at a higher risk level than cats that are allowed to go outside. Mosquitoes are the culprit: they are found throughout the central and eastern United States, particularly near oceans, lakes and rivers. Heart-worm disease in cats is often more severe than in dogs.
I have a friend that adopted a dog with heart-worm and it costs her thousands of dollars to try to save him. He developed pneumonia while on the medicine and she lost him. It is so sad, this could have been prevented. His name was Wiley and he was such a sweet Rottweiler. When compared to dogs, cats are naturally resistant to heart-worms but heart-worm disease in cats is often more severe! It’s a serious and fatal disease of the heart and lungs.
Discuss with your veterinarian about for preventative therapy for both your dogs and cats. If you are a pet owner or your pet owns you, Protect and love them and remember prevention is the best medicine, kind of like an apple a day… so consult with your Veterinarian.
Some cats show no signs of heart-worm, some symptoms are severe and some show only vague symptoms. When in doubt please visit your Vet.
Some of the symptoms of heart-worm in cats are:
Cough & Vomiting
Coughing up blood
Loss of coordination