Panel Pets

Heartworm In Cats: Causes, Signs, And Prevention

Table of Contents


(Image Credit score: Getty Pictures)

Heartworm illness is most typical in canines, however it could actually seem in cats together with greater than 30 different species of animals, together with people, although it’s uncommon.

Whereas heartworm illness can seem in cats, it’s completely different than the way in which it seems in canines. Most heartworms don’t survive till maturity in cats, and affected cats often have just one to a few grownup heartworms if not zero.

This will look like factor, but it surely does make heartworm illness troublesome to diagnose in cats, and even heartworms that aren’t absolutely grown may cause a situation known as heartworm related respiratory illness.

It is very important know the causes and signs of heartworm illness, in addition to technique of prevention to maintain your cat secure.

Causes Of Heartworm In Cats

Mosquito on Cats nose

(Image Credit score: Getty Pictures)

Heartworms are unfold by mosquitoes. They carry the heartworm larvae from a bunch contaminated with grownup feminine heartworms, which produce microscopic infants known as microfilaria that transfer via the bloodstream.

The mosquito carries the microfilaria as they develop to the infective stage over ten to 14 days. Then, the infective larvae are deposited on a brand new hosts pores and skin and enter the bloodstream of the animal via the wound created by the mosquito chunk.

Over the following six months, the larvae can develop into grownup heartworms. Adults have a lifespan of two to a few years in cats.

Signs Of Heartworm In Cats

Candid picture of my cat Boris yawning/coughing up a furball.

(Image Credit score: Getty Pictures)

The signs of heartworm illness in cats vary from gentle to extreme. They will embody:

Respiratory points and vomiting are the commonest indicators in cats with persistent heartworm infestation.

Cats with heartworm may develop a coronary heart murmur or irregular heartbeat rhythm. Some cats could have issue strolling or endure from fainting or seizures.

Generally there aren’t any signs, and the one signal is sudden collapse and even loss of life.

Prevention Of Heartworm In Cats

Doctor veterinarian examining beautiful adult cat

(Image Credit score: Getty Pictures)

Preventative heartworm remedy may be given to cats within the type of an injection, a tablet, or a topical remedy. These drugs work by killing off heartworms within the larval stage.

Sometimes, the oral and topical therapies are really useful to be administered month-to-month, whereas the injection is often given each six months.

It is very important keep on schedule with the remedy because it solely takes as little as 51 days for heartworms to mature into maturity, and so they should be killed within the larval stage. Preventative remedy doesn’t have an effect on grownup heartworms.

Analysis And Remedies For Heartworm In Cats

Vet examining a cat's x-ray

(Image Credit score: Getty Pictures)

As talked about earlier than, heartworm illness is completely different in cats than it’s in canines. There isn’t any particular check for heartworm illness in cats.

As a substitute, your veterinarian can carry out a wide range of exams to rule out different circumstances and decide if heartworm illness is the reason for your cat’s signs.

These exams embody urinary evaluation, heartworm antigen and antibody exams, x-rays to seek out enlarged veins and arteries that point out heartworm illness, or an electrocardiograph which may establish heartworms within the coronary heart together with revealing different coronary heart illnesses that may present related signs to infestation.

There isn’t any drug that may kill grownup heartworms in cats, which is why prevention is so vital.

Your vet could recommend a surgical process to take away grownup heartworms, however as a result of heartworms have a reasonably brief lifespan in cats, your vet may advocate that you just stabilize and monitor your cat as they struggle off the an infection naturally.

Many cats produce sufficient antibodies to struggle off heartworm an infection on their very own.

Veterinary examining a Scottish Fold Cat

(Image Credit score: Getty Pictures)

You will have to develop a long-term administration plan to your cat, which is able to embody follow-up visits to your vet. Your vet could provide you with remedy to proceed administration of gentle signs in your cat, together with steroids or prednisolone to cut back irritation.

For extra extreme infections, your cat may have intravenous fluids, medicine for lung and coronary heart points, antibiotics, or nursing care.

In case your cat fights off the heartworm an infection and recovers, it is necessary that you just proceed preventative care. Cats who’ve been contaminated are already inclined, and also you don’t need your cat to beat the situation simply to get contaminated yet again.

Do you retain up with heartworm illness prevention? Has your cat ever fought off a heartworm an infection? Tell us within the feedback under!


  • Adam Johanson

    Adam Johanson is an animal lover and a blogger at Panelpets. He writes regularly regarding pets and how to take care of them, as well as general news stories about animals. When he isn't writing, Adam can usually be found playing with his two dogs or cuddling his cat.