We often hear questions about cats and heartworms. There are a lot of myths that circulate around. Here are some of them and the truth about them.
Myth: Cats can resist heartworms because of their strong immune system.
The studies show that the national rate of cats getting heartworms is 16%. These rates are likely to be underestimated because of the testing methods used today may not pick up the problem.
Myth: Cats don’t get sick from heartworms.About two-thirds of the cats with heartworms develop symptoms: cough, vomiting, wheezing or other breathing difficulties, decrease appetite or weight loss.
Myth: My cat lives indoors and won’t get heartworms.By studies, in the U.S., 27% of the cats that get heartworms are indoor-only cats! Mosquitoes thta spread the disease can come into the home through open doors, screens and windows.
Myth: A heartworm test is needed before starting heartworm prevention.Don’t wait to start your cat on heartworm preventative medicine! While there are tests for Feline Heartworms, it is not necessary to test first. The testing is different than in dogs.
Myth: I can just treat my cat for heartworms if he gets them so I don’t need to give prevention medicine.While heartworm treatment for dogs is generally safe and effective, treating cats does not work and in fact, is fatal! Understand that we are talking about TREATMENT, not prevention. The medication used to treat heartworms causes the rapid death of the parasite which leads to a severe fatal lung problem in cats. If we diagnose a cat with heartworm disease, we use other medication to control the symptoms (steroids and others), but we cannot use drugs to kill the heartworm parasites. The moral of the story is PREVENTION IS THE KEY!
If your cat is not on heartworm prevention, give us a call today at 704-824-9876 so we can help! It’s not difficult to start.