Everything You Need to Know About Preventing Heartworm in Your Cat

Everything You Need to Know About Preventing Heartworm in Your Cat


heartworm is a very different disease in cats than it is in dogs. Dogs are natural hosts for the worm, but it’s the cats that have a more severe reaction to it. The disease is transferred through a mosquito bite, and although rare in cats, it can be very hard to treat. Diagnosing heartworms can be tricky as well, and usually several months need to pass for your vet to be able to tell anything. A physical exam is never enough, and since the disease has a whole range of symptoms it often gets mixed up with other things. If you suspect anything, your vet can do an antibody test, combined with some other test such as an x-ray of the chest. In cats, heartworms are primarily a lung disease.

The living heartworms can cause a blockage of the arteries in the lungs and cause respiratory problems. The biggest issue with treating the disease comes from the fact that dead heartworms cause an inflammation as their bodies disintegrate, so even when you manage to kill them, they can still severely injure your cat.

In order to avoid all of this, prevention is the key. Here are a few tips on how you can save them from suffering.

Preventive medication

Preventing Heartworm in Your Cat

Ivermectin and Milbemycin are common active ingredients in medication that can prevent heartworms. These meds are usually very safe, with very few reported side effects, but you do need to be careful about the dosage. Never give any ivermectin that is meant for dogs to your cat, because cats need a dose that’s about four times stronger. Some people said that their cats looked disoriented, or had some mild diarrhoea and vomiting, but that it cleared up after a few days.

Another option is topical medication, which not only prevents heartworm, but protects your pet from various other parasites, fleas and ticks. Be careful how you apply it, so your cat wouldn’t try to lick it off. The best place is between their shoulder blades. Wear latex gloves and part the fur there, then spray the medicine. Be careful about any contact with your own skin, as it can cause irritations. After the application, make sure not to pet your cat for at least 30 minutes, and keep them indoors. Adverse effects are rare, but same as with oral medication, they can cause some disorientation, diarrhoea and vomiting.

Of course, don’t do any of this before you consult your vet, or at least try a service such as Pet Coach, which will let you ask an expert any question for free. But really, it’s always much better to actually take your pet for a check-up to make sure everything’s okay.

Balanced Diet

Cat Preventing Heartworm

A healthy, resilient animal is far more likely to resist any parasite attack than a sick one. Take care of your pet by making sure they get plenty of exercise and always have good food available. Net to Pet cat supplies have some excellent food options, and a whole range of supplements that will keep your little fur ball healthy. A balanced diet will boost their immune system and help your cat fight off any diseases. If your cat has any weight issues, you need to put that under control fast. Their sad little eyes are cute, sure, but if you don’t keep your pet in shape, you’re putting them at risk.

If your cat has a lot of allergies or a sensitive stomach, you may want to consider homemade cat food to help keep that under control. Also, take a look at The Kitty-Cat Cookbook, a wonderful little book full of vet-approved recipes that you can make for your pet.

Keeping the Cat Indoors

Preventing Heartworm Cat

Obviously one of the ways to avoid those deadly mosquito bites is to keep your kitten indoors, especially during the hot season. If they get bored easily, a cat house or some fun toys may help keep them properly occupied. This is also a good way for them to get enough exercise through playing. If your cat is not an indoor animal, then it’s going to be difficult to keep them inside during the mosquito season. In this case, it’s very important that you take them to regular check-ups and use other forms of protection to ensure their safety.

Our pets are too precious for us to let anything happen to them. Take them to their vet regularly, help them eat well, exercise, and use any preventive measures that you can, to make sure they are healthy and happy for a long time.

​Zara Lewis is a proud mom of two humans and two furry babies: crazy cat Lola and a lovely pup Lala. She’s also a writer, content editor on High Style Life and life coach, passionate about promoting healthy lifestyle, with hopes of a better world for the generations to come. She enjoys reading a good book, practicing yoga and spending a quality family time outdoors.

Guest Post by: Zara Lewis

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