Heartworm Prevention in Dogs and Cats

April 10, 2015

As we get into springtime our favorite bothersome insect starts to appear – the mosquito.  April is heartworm awareness month.  And in case you did not know it, mosquitoes transmit heartworm disease. Here in Central Indiana we have plenty of those nasty guys around. Did you know that cats can get heartworm disease as well as dogs? Heartworm disease is an ugly disease that does not need to happen because it is almost 100% preventable.

 

Anywhere mosquitoes are there is a chance your pet could become infected. Heartworm prevention is simple and generally a medication given once a month.  We recommend giving prevention all year around because there are cases where mosquitoes can stay alive inside a house during the winter long enough to bite your dog or cat. Heartworm disease is pretty much just how it sounds: worms that live in the heart and cause disease. Since they collect in the heart they eventually cause heart disease and heart failure.

 

Depending on the severity of the heartworm disease, some dogs can live quite a while with the disease which ends up causing more long term issues with the heart. Cats however are not a good host for the disease and since their hearts are so small, even one or two worms can cause severe heart disease and usually death is the first and only sign of a problem. 

 

There is a treatment for the disease in dogs but not in cats. That makes heartworm prevention so important for all cats, even if they are indoor only cats. Mosquitoes unfortunately do not stay outside only.  

There are several different heartworm preventions out there to accommodate your pet’s needs. Some are monthly topicals such as Revolution and Advantage Multi. Some are monthly chewables such as Heartgard Plus and Interceptor.  For more information on Heartworm Disease, Preventions and Treatment please call.