Many pet owners are not aware that cats can also get affected with heartworms. As cats are not as likely to get infected by the disease as dogs, much information for the same is too little. Though this disease is totally different in cats, it’s vital to explore the facts about the same as it can be as fatal as it is in dogs.
It has taken decades for veterinarian societies to find how heartworms have the same dangerous effect on the feline community; however, the way it turns out varies compared to the heartworm infection in dogs.
Let us first go step by step starting from knowing the symptoms of heartworms in cats and finally concluding whether treatment really exist for this disease in felines or not.
One of the most dreadful symptom in cats is sudden death, and heartworm is the second most common causes of 76 % of deaths in felines besides hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – a kind of heart disease.
Some of other symptoms of cat's heartwormer disease are as follows:
Acute Clinical Symptoms
Chronic Clinical Sighs
Most Common Causes of Heartworms in Cats
Whether it’s dog or a cat, heartworm in transmitted through a mosquito bite. Mosquitoes carry infective heartworm larvae from the host to the victim. Compared to dogs, the lifecycle of heartworms affecting cats is shorter, therefore it is quite difficult to learn the infestation process in cats.
In dogs, immature heartworms reach the heart and blood vessels of the lungs, where they mature and multiply releasing heartworm larvae – microfilaria in the blood. This phenomenon is not common in felines and less than 20 percent of cats are infected with this.
It is quite difficult to diagnose heartworm disease in cats as there is no specific tests that help in processing out the presence of heartworms in felines. Therefore, different tests are performed to aid in the diagnosis of this disease such as urine analysis, heartworm antigen and antibody tests, x-rays (which may unveil specific enlargement of certain veins and arteries associated with heartworm disease and an ECG (electrocardiograph), which may support in the identification of worms in the heart or pulmonary artery.
As difficult as it is to diagnosis Heartworms in cats, it’s too tough to treat the infected cat. In medical treatment, there is no approved medication helpful for killing adult heartworms in the body of the cats. The only chance for cure is a surgical method to extract the adult worms. Nevertheless, the other issue is – as the heartworms in cats have a lower lifespan than those infest dogs, a spontaneous cure is the only remedy. Moreover, different medications may be used in order to help treat symptoms as well.