How common is heartworm in indoor cats?

Cats

How many heartworm worms can a cat have?

While infected dogs may have 30 or more worms in their heart and lungs, cats usually have 6 or fewer—and may have just one or two. But while the severity of heartworm disease in dogs is related to the number of worm, in cats, just one or two worms can make a cat very ill.

What are the symptoms of heartworm in cats?

Signs of heartworm infestation in cats include coughing, labored or rapid breathing (known as dyspnea), and vomiting. Weight loss and decreased energy are also common symptoms. A physical examination may also reveal a heart murmur or otherwise irregular heart rhythm.

Why is heartworm prevention necessary for cats?

The reasons that heartworm prevention is now recommended for all cats are: 1 Diagnostic Difficulty. Diagnosing heartworms is not as easy in cats as in dogs. 2 Unknown Incidence. Heartworms are not nearly as common in cats as they are in dogs. 3 There Is No Treatment. There is simply no good treatment for heartworm-infected cats.

Can indoor cats get heartworm disease?

But heartworm disease is still a serious health condition that can have fatal consequences for cats. The risk of infection in cats is not known to be affected by age, sex or even indoor/outdoor status. In fact, indoor cats are just as likely to become infected as outdoor cats. That’s why all cats should be protected.

Can heartworm medicine be used to treat dogs in cats?

Moreover, the medication used to treat heartworm infections in dogs cannot be used in cats, so prevention is the only means of protecting cats from the effects of heartworm disease. How is heartworm disease transmitted from one pet to another?

How common is heartworm in cats compared to dogs?

Heartworm infection in cats is much less common than in dogs. Studies have estimated that for every 100 dogs that develop heartworm disease, only 5 to 15 cats are infected. “Heartworm infection in the cat is difficult to diagnose, and the true rate of infection may be higher than initially estimated.”.

How do cats get heartworm disease?

Cats get heartworm disease when infected mosquitos bite them and pass along worms that live in their heart, specifically the pulmonary artery, which brings blood to the lungs.

Can a mosquito bite cause heartworm in a cat?

And the only way in which this worm can enter your cat’s body is through a mosquito bite. The infection occurs when a mosquito pierces a cat’s skin and, in so doing, allows entry of heartworm larvae that it has picked up from another animal, most commonly an infected dog, into the victim’s bloodstream.

Is there a cure for heartworm disease in cats?

Heartworms don’t need to reach the adult stage to do severe damage. Since there isn’t any treatment available for a complete and permanent cure of feline heartworm disease, it’s important to make note of certain symptoms that infected cat’s exhibit for an appropriate prognosis.

How can you tell if a cat has heartworm?

Signs of Infection The most common clinical signs of heartworm infection include: intermittent vomiting (sometimes of blood as well as of food); diarrhea; rapid and difficult breathing, coughing and gagging, all of which may be confused with feline asthma or some other bronchial disease; loss of appetite; lethargy and weight loss.

How many worms does a cat with heartworm have?

It is estimated that approximately one-third of cats with heartworm disease are indoors only. The numbers of worms that develop in cats are generally much less than dogs. In fact, some cats infected with heartworms may have only one to three worms.

What is heartworm associated respiratory disease in cats?

This is known as HARD, or heartworm associated respiratory disease, due to the respiratory symptoms (such as coughing, increased respiratory rate, and trouble breathing) being the most obvious. However, feline bronchitis and feline asthma present quite similarly to HARD, making them difficult to distinguish.

How do you prevent heartworm disease in indoor cats?

Maintain prevention. A cat that has developed heartworm disease has demonstrated that it is susceptible to heartworm infection, and both outdoor and indoor cats are at risk. It’s important to give your cat monthly heartworm preventives, which are available in both spot-on and pill form.

What if my cat tests positive for heartworms?

Because there is no approved treatment for heartworm infection in cats, prevention is critical. What if my cat tests positive for heartworms? Like dogs, cats can be infected with heartworms. There are differences, however, in the nature of the disease and how it is diagnosed and managed.

Can kittens get heartworm disease?

The risk of kittens getting heartworm disease is equal to that of adult cats. The American Heartworm Society recommends that kittens be started on a heartworm preventive as early as the product label allows, and no later than 8 weeks of age.

Why is heartworm prevention important for Texas cats?

Awareness of this disease is important for Texas owners because even one heartworm in your cats can be deadly. “How can my cat become infected? He stays indoors.”

Can a cat get heartworm disease from a dog?

Heartworm Disease (Dirofilariasis) in Cats. Additionally, most cats have only a few heartworms present, and the worms infecting cats are physically smaller and have a shorter lifespan than those infecting dogs. Outdoor cats are at increased risk, and are twice as likely to contract heartworm disease as indoor cats.

Do indoor cats need heartworm medicine?

A cat that has developed heartworm disease has demonstrated that it is susceptible to heartworm infection, and both outdoor and indoor cats are at risk. It’s important to give your cat monthly heartworm preventives, which are available in both spot-on and pill form.

How long can a dog live with heartworms?

Once mature, heartworms can live for 5 to 7 years in dogs and up to 2 or 3 years in cats. Because of the longevity of these worms, each mosquito season can lead to an increasing number of worms in an infected pet.

Is there a treatment for heartworm disease in cats?

Unfortunately, there is no approved drug therapy for heartworm infection in cats, and the drug used to treat infections in dogs is not safe for cats. Nevertheless, cats with heartworm disease can often be helped with good veterinary care. The goal is to stabilize your cat and determine a long-term management plan. Monitor your cat.

Can a dog recover from heartworm disease?

Heartworm disease is a serious, progressive disease. The earlier it is detected, the better the chances the pet will recover. There are few, if any, early signs of disease when a dog or cat is infected with heartworms, so detecting their presence with a heartworm test administered by a veterinarian is important.

Can a cat get heartworms from a dog?

Like dogs, cats can be infected with heartworms. There are differences, however, in the nature of the disease and how it is diagnosed and managed. Because a cat is not an ideal host for heartworms, some infections resolve on their own, although these infections can leave cats with respiratory system damage.