I’ve been a very bad cat….. No blogs for almost a whole year! But I’m back now, and it’s time to talk about heartworm disease in cats again!! My last blog was an in-depth interview with one of Cat Care’s vets about Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD), so check it out for the nitty-gritty details. Today I just want to remind everyone that heartworm disease is out there (yes, even here in Southeast Michigan, where it seems like it will NEVER be warm again). Some not-so-fun facts about heartworm disease in cats:
- In a North Carolina study, 28% of all heartworm positive cats were INDOOR-ONLY
- “Heartworm” is a bit of a misnomer- heartworm infection in cats generally causes LUNG disease, not HEART disease.
- Heartworm LARVAE can cause more damage than ADULT heartworms in cats
- Heartworm tests in dogs look for a protein made by FEMALE heartworms; cats often don’t have enough heartworms to produce a detectable amount of this protein (or they have only MALE heartworms)
- Because cats have low numbers of heartworms when infected, they do not need to have a negative heartworm test prior to starting heartworm prevention (in fact, the experts recommend starting heartworm positive cats on prevention as part of the plan to control the disease)
- The treatment for heartworm infection that is used in dogs is not recommended for treatment in cats (in studies, ~50% of the cats died from the TREATMENT, not the heartworm infection)
- Blindness, collapse, convulsions, diarrhea, and sudden death are some of the less commonly recognized signs of heartworm disease in cats
- Heartworm infection and HARD are easily prevented with year-round heartworm protection (like Revolution, Heartgard, and Advantage Multi)
- Check out www.knowheartworms.org for more information about Feline Heartworm Disease and HARD
Don’t hesitate to contact the staff of Cat Care, PC for more information about heartworm infections or HARD, or to discuss which preventative is right for you and Fluffy!