Hello! Nigel, here! While outside on the catio, sharpening my claws on the catio furniture, I thought I would take a moment to talk to you about a disease that you might not have realized is a danger for us cats. Heartworm disease. That’s right, heartworm disease. Many of you know about heartworm disease as a problem for dogs, but cats are in danger from this disgusting parasite as well.
Heartworm is a parasite that enters your cat’s body through it’s bloodstream and wreaks havoc in the lungs and heart. For some cats, the only symptoms are coughing and some difficulty breathing. For others, the first and only unfortunate sign…is sudden death. Just awful! Once your cat has contracted heartworm disease, there is no treatment to cure them. The only thing to do is give them supportive care for their symptoms and wait to see if they clear the disease on their own. If your cat is one of the lucky ones who clears the infection, they may still have permanent lung damage… a syndrome called Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD).
Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes. All it takes is just one bite from an infected mosquito for your precious kitty to be at risk for developing this disease. Ever seen a mosquito inside of your house? Or awakened from a peaceful night’s rest with an itchy mosquito bite on your bum? Then you know that mosquitoes are a problem for “indoor only” cats as well. In one clinical study, it was reported that more than 25% of cats diagnosed with heartworm disease were described by their owners to be “indoor only cats”.
If you would like to know if your feline overlord may already be plagued with this disease, you can ask your veterinarian for a simple blood test. At For Cats Only, we have a nifty little snap test that can be done while you wait with only a few drops of blood.
Although there is no cure for heartworm disease, the good news is that there IS a preventative! Dr. S and Dr. J recommend that all cats be on a once-a-month preventative treatment to protect them from this deadly parasite. This preventative is available as both a topical spot-on liquid that you apply to the skin, or as an oral chewable tablet. Both are very effective and can mean life or death for your precious feline masters. Think about it…what would you do with all of your time, if you suddenly had no cat dictator to serve? We cats don’t want you humans getting bored!
If you would like to know more about heartworm disease in cats and what you can do to protect your kitties, give us a call at For Cats Only and make an appointment to see one of the doctors. We would love to see you!!
That’s all for now. This is Nigel signing off! Meow!