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Heartworm in Cats

Heartworm in Cats

What is Heartworm in Cats?

Heartworms are parasitic creatures. Cats can contract¬†feline heartworm disease from mosquitos that leave larva behind after a bite. After reaching adulthood, the heartworms in cats could travel to a cat’s lungs. When you do not treat heartworm in cats, these parasites can create serious and fatal health issues.

More and more these days, veterinarians all over the country are recommending a heartworm preventive for cats. In spite of the fact that heartworms occur more in dogs and heartworms in cats tend to be rarer, the disease does affect cats as well and can be very deadly. And, keeping your kitty indoors and helping her to maintain a healthy immune system are excellent ways to prevent heartworm disease in cats. Preventing feline heartworm disease is a lot less painful for your cat. Heartworm prevention is also much less expensive than actually treating feline heartworms after an infestation.

The fact is that heartworm infections affect cats differently than dogs. What the heartworms actually do inside of cats makes the symptoms, diagnoses, and options for heartworm in cats treatment vastly different from those for their canine counterparts.

Here are a few facts about heartworm in cats:

  • When cats are not protected from feline heartworm disease, if they get the disease and it goes untreated, the heartworms can live for two to three years in cats.
  • 61 to 90 percent of the cats with exposure to heartworm disease actually contract it.
  • A mature heartworm in your cat could be approximately 8.5 inches in length.
  • Feline heartworm disease occurs virtually anywhere that canine heartworm disease exists.
  • All 50 states have reported heartworm disease cases.
  • When heartworm disease reaches the mature stage, most infected cats usually will have one to three heartworms.
  • No drug with FDA-approval to treat feline heartworm disease exist yet; so you can only manage the symptoms of feline heartworms using special medication.
  • An NCSU study shows that 25 percent of cats with heartworms are actually strictly indoor cats.
  • Other research studies are suggesting that preventatives could eradicate heartworm in cats altogether.


(The image above is a derivative of jessica mullen,; CC BY-SA.)

Heartworm Symptoms