Hello again, cat lovers. It’s CAT Stanley again. Today, I need to talk to you about something that’s near and dear to my heart. Get it…near and dear to my heart? Heartworms? I’m a real comedian, huh?
Seriously though, heartworms really are no laughing matter, especially for us cats. Did you know we cats can get heartworms too? That’s right; it’s not just a dog disease.
Heartworms can spell big trouble for us too. In fact, I don’t mean to scare you but one of the symptoms sometimes seen with feline heartworm disease is sudden death. Yes, sometimes we get sick from heartworms so quickly that our human caretakers and veterinarians don’t even have time to help us. Other times, heartworms can cause symptoms that are a lot like feline asthma.
Here’s another thing about heartworms in cats. Veterinarians have medicine for dogs that can kill the heartworms. It’s called Immiticide. Even for dogs, the treatment can be dangerous. But we cats can’t even take the medicine. So, there’s really no effective way to get rid of heartworms if we get them. The only thing our people and our veterinarians can do is treat our symptoms.
Why am I bringing up heartworms and feline heartworm disease now? It’s because the Companion Animal Parasite Council recently published a parasite forecast for this spring. Here’s what they have to say:
“The United States will experience high populations of heartworm due to anticipated above-normal temperatures and precipitation levels, according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council’s spring 2012 parasite forecast released today.
The forecast is based on National Weather Service data, weather trends, parasite prevalence statistics from veterinary clinics and animal shelters, and the collective expert opinion of parasitologists.
Through April 2012, the forecast calls for the following levels of heartworm populations in five U.S. regions: “extremely high” in the South; “high” in the Northeast and Midwest; “moderate to higher-than-normal” in the Northwest; and “persistent spikes” in parts of the West.”
You may be wondering how a cat can get heartworms. We get them by being bitten by mosquitoes. Any cat can get heartworms by being bitten by an infected mosquito. Even indoor cats can get heartworms. How many times have you seen a mosquito in your house?
Fortunately, heartworms are easy to prevent in both cats and dogs. There are many safe options for cats that can effectively prevent us from being infected with heartworms and most of them are very easy to use. Talk with your veterinarian about what type of heartworm preventive medication is best suited for you.
Remember, your veterinarian is the best source of information about cats and our health. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your cat’s veterinarian.