Important Things You Need To Know About Heartworm Disease In Cats

Dogs may be commonly recognized as the natural hosts for heartworm disease, but cats can also get the infection, too. While there are similarities in heartworm disease between the 2 species, there are also distinct differences. Here are important things you need to know about heartworm disease in cats:

  • While heartworms in dogs occupy the heart and lungs, in cats, the prime target of the worms are the lung tissues. Even 1-2 worms can cause extensive damage to the cat’s lungs and cause the immune system to go into overdrive. 
  • The common symptoms manifested in cats with heartworms include coughing, lethargy, difficulty breathing, decreased appetite, and weight loss. In severe cases, sudden death can occur. 
  • In dogs, the screening test for heartworm disease is the antigen test. However, cats showing symptoms should be subjected to both an antigen test and a blood antibody test. 
  • There is no treatment for heartworm in cats. The drug that is used to kill adult heartworms in dogs, called Melarsomine, is extremely toxic to cats. Thus, heartworm infection in cats is generally viewed as manageable instead of being treatable. 
  • The best way to protect your furball from heartworms is a good preventive program. Ask your Manlius, NY veterinarian about preventive options that are available for your pet. Click here for more information.


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