If you ever thought that dogs are the only animals that get affected by heartworm disease you are in for a big surprise. Although dogs are more prone to this life-threatening disease, the kitties are not far left behind. In fact, it has been researched and found that the chances of a cat getting a heartworm infection is roughly 5% to 15% to that of dogs that are not on preventive treatments. This goes to show that even felines are prone to this dangerous disease. But there are certain people who still perceive that the kittens are not the ones to be affected by heartworm disease. For these people we have written this blog and have tried to clear out some misconceptions about heartworm disease in kitties. Let us look at these misconceptions below:
Myths About Heartworm Disease in Cats
Misconception No. 1: Indoor cats cannot acquire heartworm disease.
Reality: It has been studied and found that in our country alone there are 27% of indoor cats that are infected with heartworm disease. It is possible for mosquitoes to enter the house through screen doors and open windows.
Misconception No. 2: Cats that are infected with heartworms do not display any clinical signs.
Reality: It has been studied and found that two-thirds of the heartworm-infected cats show signs like: wheezing, coughing, difficult or rapid breathing, weight loss and vomiting.
Misconception No. 3: Due to heartworm disease, cats suffer from cardiac disease.
Reality: Heartworm disease in cats affects the lungs not the heart. It is the heartworm-associated respiratory disease that is the main cause of heartworm disease in felines.
Misconception No. 4: The treatment of heartworm disease is the same for dogs and cats.
Reality: The treatment of heartworm disease in dogs differs from that of cats. Adulticidal treatment with melarsomine in felines is not recommended as it can result in swift worm death and consequently cause the death of the cat. Instead, to treat heartworm disease in felines corticosteroids is utilized that decreases the inflammatory response to the heartworms in the lungs, bronchi, and pulmonary arterioles.
Misconception No. 5: Never take the aid of an echo cardiogram test since heartworm disease rarely causes cardiac disease in cats.
Reality: Echo cardiogram is a complimentary test that aids in identifying adult worms in the proximal pulmonary artery and main pulmonary artery branches that might be observed in 40% of the infected cats. There is also a need to diagnose caval syndrome, which is a uncommon but life-threatening condition requiring immediate extraction of worms from the tricuspid valve.
Misconception No. 6: Heartworm preventatives are only effective against early larval infections.
Reality: Different heartworm preventatives have different efficacy. But if a preventive is delayed for a particular period of time, it may still be able to kill the larvae that has matured. But the only condition is that the subsequent doses need to be given consequently on a monthly basis.
Remember, the best thing to combat heartworm disease is by giving regular heartworm preventatives to the feline.
Heartworm disease is a serious disease that results in severe lung disease, heart failure, other organ damage, and death of your loving dogs, cats, and ferrets (pets). It is a potentially fatal, but preventable. So, be ready to treat your loving pet with heartworm preventative treatments at the earliest with the help of your vet.
This way you can rest assured that your feline is protected from this life-threatening disease. So, how are you planning to combat this grave disease from your kitty?