Diseases are quite a bummer! Human beings have done considerably well to treat and grow immunization to most of them but for our pets, many diseases can be severe and at times, even fatal. If you’re a cat owner, it’s important that you know about one of the more deadly diseases for cats, out there; the heartworm disease. You have to know about how to prevent heartworm disease.
The heartworm is an infection that occurs when a mosquito carrying the larva of the heartworm bites a cat, leaving an infection onto the cat. To make matters worse, as of now, there is no known treatment for this disease and therefore, it is usually fatal for your pet cat if it does happen.
The larva will stay in the bloodstream over a period of several months and then penetrate the heart eventually. After the larva matures into adults, they start to reproduce and start creating microfilariae, which sustains itself on the cat. When this happens, cats are usually going to show symptoms of diseases and the disease, from here on out, will become fatal very quickly. This highlights the importance of working on prevention from the disease to keep your favorite pets safe as there is very little time between the appearance of clear symptoms and death.
The main issue with heartworm disease isn’t necessarily it itself. In cats, the number of heartworm larva that stays is considerably less than in dogs, for example. However, the impact on cats is more to do with immune systems, giving cats respiratory issues and can quite often be misdiagnosed as a cold or some respiratory disease.
I am aware that mosquitoes are typically outdoor dwelling, particular when indoors are sealed shut. However, you cannot always make sure that your cats will stay indoors 24/7. And let’s be honest, you cannot monitor your cat 24/7. Therefore, it is important that you take preventive measures to both minimize the duration of exposure and in case of exposure, to make sure that bites will not lead to fatal infections.
First of all, it is strongly recommended, if your locality is known to have issues regarding mosquitoes and more specifically, mosquitoes carrying the heartworm disease, you’ll want to get your cat on medication. Thankfully, medicine has come a long way and by providing one dose a month to your cats, you will be able to keep them safe even in the case of a bite from a mosquito carrying potentially fatal heartworm larvae.
There are several types of preventive medicine for heartworm disease. Thankfully, these are available in almost every state in the US and throughout the year so you will be able to get them whenever you run out of them. At the very least, you have to take the due diligence to make sure your cat is given the appropriate dosage every month or risk losing your feline friend to these heartless mosquito riding menaces.
In addition, there are certain medications that are more powerful and are known to control the population of worms that carry the heartworm disease. This is usually going to need a prescription from your local vet and it is a more powerful medicine than the conventional prevention medicine but if your cat is known to contain worms that are capable of causing the infection, you’ll need to put your cat on them as soon as possible. This is serious business, my friend! An example of this medicine is called Revolution, made by the company Zoetis so if you need leads, you know where to look first now.
As usual, detection is most likely to happen in a health checkup and therefore, you’ll need to get in the habit of going to the vet regularly to get your pet cat checked for the heartworm disease. This applies even if you have never seen your cat demonstrate any infectious symptoms because, again, you can’t really tell for sure whether anything is wrong until the symptoms show and in this case, it is usually too late.
However, now consider if your cat is diagnosed with the disease, it is perfectly okay to be sad. But you need to hold it together and keep in mind that just because the infection is confirmed doesn’t mean your cat can’t have a good life and live up to the normal life expectancy. It will be a hassle and it will need you to take your cat to the vet on a regular basis. Thankfully, this disease is usually not known to cause sudden death and therefore, you can still enjoy a good deal of time with them.
In such a situation, unfortunately, your cat is going to need a host of other medicine too. You and your cat may not be fond of it but it’ll keep your feline friend alive so by hook or by crook, make sure your cat takes it all! Some of these medications will include treatments for breathing because one of the early causes of death is to overwhelm the lungs and cause suffocation and similar problems.
In addition, other meds are provided to deal with inflammation of the lungs and other parts of the body to keep the infection at bay. Either way, the treatment has to be provided by your vet and therefore, again, visit your vet regularly! Just because the disease cannot be treated doesn’t mean that your cat has to suffer for the rest of its existence on this earth. Just do your part, okay?! OKAY?!
So you have everything you need to know about heartworm, what you need to do to identify it, what steps you should take to implement prevention and most importantly, the fact that even if your worst nightmare comes true and your feline friend has the disease, it isn’t the end of the world for either of you. Enjoy the precious moments that you can spend with your friend because you are going to be with them the entirety of their life so make sure you make every moment count.