FELINE HEARTWORM DISEASE
DIFFICULT TO DIAGNOSIS, NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO TREAT, EASY TO PREVENT!
The American Heartworm Society presents information on Feline Heartworm Disease and how it is unique from the Canine Disease. Please click the link for more information.
Feline Heartworm Infection: Serious!! Get the facts on why it is important to prevent Feline Heartworm Disease from the Cornell Feline Health Center.
Click here to learn The KNOW HEARTWORMS CAMPAIGN FAQS on Feline Heartworm
Feline Heartworm Disease differs from Canine Heartworm Disease in several ways. Here are some key points:
- The incidence in cats is lower than it is in dogs (10-15% of the rate in dogs). However any place were dog heartowrm exists, feline heartworm is also found. As in dogs, both indoor and outdoor cats are at risk of heartworm infection.
- Infection even with a small number of adult worms can cause severe disease in cats!
- Signs differ from dogs and tend to be nonspecific. (Examples: Lethargy, vomiting, coughing, collapse, sudden death).
- Testing is much more difficult. Often two blood tests are needed, a combination of heartworm antigen and heartworm antibody testing increases the probability of an accurate diagnosis. However there can also be false negatives on both blood tests. Sometimes imaging studies (xrays/ultrasound) are needed to support a diagnosis.
- Adulticide treatment to kill an adult heartworm infection in a cat is not currently recommended. There is no evidence that it improves survival in infected cats, and the death of the adult heartworm can often cause death of the cat!
- Monthly Feline Heartworm Prevention is both safe and Effective. Some heartworm preventatives also provide control of other parasites. Heartworm testing is recommended, but not mandatory, prior to starting Feline Heartworm Prevention. Feline Heartworm prevention should still be used in Heartworm Positive cats to prevent additional infection.
Deer Run Animal Hospital recommends Revolution for Cats or Advantage Multi for Cats for the prevention of Feline Heartworm Disease. These products are applied topically once monthly. There are no difficult pills to give! Both products give additional protection against fleas, ear mites, and the zoonotic (infectious to people) intestinal parasites roundworms and hookworms.
Feline heartworm preventative medications can be prescribed by your cat's veterinarian. They can be dispensed through the in-house pharmacy at Deer Run Animal Hospital or through our on-line pharmacy.