2001-Wed Jul 26 14:52:27 EDT 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Among the illnesses that affect our pets, few are better known than heartworm disease. And for good reason: Heartworm is potentially life threatening to our pets. But do you truly understand all aspects of this disease — and how to prevent it? To test your heartworm smarts, determine whether the following statements are true or false. You may be surprised by some of the answers.
To understand how heartworms affect cats — and dogs — it’s important to know the heartworm life cycle:
In cats, many of the larvae never develop into adult heartworms, but instead migrate to the lungs through the pulmonary arteries, where they die and cause inflammation. This can cause cats to develop severe respiratory disease, even without worms in their hearts. Respiratory distress, including the coughing and labored breathing that we see in many heartworm-infected cats, is similar to other feline respiratory or heart diseases, such as asthma, cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle) or bacterial or viral infections that cause pneumonia.
Finally, and most importantly, while we have effective treatments for canine heartworm disease — although they can be costly and painful and, if not begun soon enough, might not prevent heart and lung complications — these same treatments cannot be used to eliminate adult heartworms in cats.
TRUE OR FALSE: All pets require heartworm prevention — even those that stay indoors.
TRUE. Even though truly indoor pets are less likely than outdoor pets to be bitten by heartworm-infected mosquitoes, indoor pets can still get infected with heartworms. In fact, North Carolina University’s survey of heartworm-infected cats revealed that 27 percent of the cats were characterized by their owners as residing entirely indoors.
One reason this misperception continues is that some pet owners think that if their pets live inside, they just cannot be exposed to mosquitoes. However, many pets are allowed to sit or lie near open windows or accompany their owners out on a deck or patio. And let's face it: Most of us have seen mosquitoes inside our homes. Do not allow this myth to be perpetuated. Insist on year-round protection, regardless of your pet’s indoor or outdoor habits. Mosquitoes can sneak inside, so even indoor pets need preventive medicine.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.