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Cats Get Heartworms Too!
April 23, 2012

Heartworm Infection Predicted to be High This Year

Ensure your cat is protected

 

According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), this spring is forecasted to be particularly bad for heartworms. The CATalyst Council, a national initiative comprised of animal health and welfare organizations working on behalf of cats, is urging cat owners to ensure that their cats are on heartworm preventive medication to avoid a possibly deadly infection. 

“Some believe that only dogs get heartworms, but it’s just not true. Cats also get heartworms, and although there is a lower incidence in cats than dogs, it is completely preventable and can be deadly for cats,” said Dr. Cathy Lund, CAPC’s vice president/president-elect and a feline veterinarian. While heartworms don’t attack a cat’s heart as they do in dogs, they do attack their lungs, which is a potentially fatal condition. Dr. Lund also notes that "because there is no safe treatment for heartworm disease in cats, and because it can be very difficult to diagnose an infection, it is imperative that cats be protected through the consistent use of heartworm preventives."

CAPC notes that the forecast is based upon higher than normal temperatures and an increased amount of precipitation, a recipe for a high mosquito population. Mosquitos are the carrier for heartworms and animals are infected after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

“Another common misconception is that indoor-only cats won’t get heartworms because they aren’t exposed to mosquitos,” said Dr. Lund.  “Nothing could be farther from the truth. I’ve never heard of an outdoor-only mosquito.”

According to the website www.knowheartworms.org, in a North Carolina study 28 percent of the cats diagnosed with heartworm disease were indoor-only cats. 

Cat owners are urged to speak with their veterinarians about preventive medications for their cats so that they can protect their feline friends from potentially deadly heartworm infestations.

For more information on CAPC, visit their website at www.petsandparasites.org.

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