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Should my cat be on heartworm preventative?

Should my cat be on heartworm preventative?

It is a good idea, and the feline heartworm preventatives also control intestinal parasites. Even indoor cats are at risk. In a recent study, 28 percent of the cats diagnosed with heartworm were inside-only cats.

Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitos, so even indoor cats can be at risk. Cats are infected with adult heartworms at about 10 to 15% of the dog rate as they are not the natural host for this parasite. In many highly endemic areas like the Florida and Texas Gulf Coast, the adult heartworm infection rate is equal to or HIGHER than the FeLV and FIV infection rates.

Heartworms affect cats differently than dogs, but the disease they cause is equally serious. Cats do not need an adult heartworm to exhibit clinical signs; in fact, larvae are a main cause of the problems. The name "heartworm disease" is a misnomer, as it mostly affects the lungs in cats. Signs that can be seen in cats include loss of appetite, blindness, collapse, convulsions, coughing, difficulty breathing, vomiting/diarrhea, lethargy, weight loss, and even sudden death.

Diagnosis is difficult in cats, but prevention is easy. Cats can be treated with either an oral or topical monthly preventative. Ask your doctor about new preventatives for cats.