Are you familiar with heartworm and its prevention? Since this can pose a serious threat to the health of your cat, it’s important to educate yourself on this matter. Your cat clinic in Alexandria, VA has put together the following overview for you.
If you have any questions about this material or would like additional information on heartworm prevention, feel free to contact your cat clinic in Alexandria, VA.
Heartworms are typically transmitted by mosquitoes. When an animal that is infected with heartworms is bitten by a mosquito, the insect picks up the baby worms that are in the animal’s bloodstream. Over the next 10 to 14 days, these baby worms develop into larvae, which are considered the “infective stage.”
When the mosquito then bites another dog or cat, the infective larvae enter the new host’s body, where they mature into adult heartworms over the next six months. After they have reached maturity, heartworms can live inside a cat for two to three years. Multiple mosquito bites can result in an increasing number of heartworms present in a cat.
If a cat is infected with heartworms, the infection may resolve on its own, or it may develop into serious issues. Cats are not ideal hosts for heartworms, so it’s possible that your cat may not suffer symptoms. However, heartworm infections can cause damage to the cat’s respiratory system. These infections often cause wheezing, coughing and breathing difficulties.
In other cases, heartworms may migrate to the eyes, spinal cord or brain of the cat. If this happens, the heartworms can cause severe complications, including blood clots and lung inflammation.
Heartworm infection can be prevented with monthly medication. It can be provided by your cat clinic in Alexandria, VA as a pill, topical medication or injection. These medications eliminate immature heartworms, including those that have been deposited by mosquitoes and those that have begun to mature into the larval stage.
It’s important to maintain regular doses of heartworm prevention medication, since the heartworms cannot be eliminated by preventative care once they reach adult stage. Since heartworms can mature in 51 days, monthly prevention measures are an effective way to keep your cat heartworm-free.
At this time, there are no natural remedies or prevention methods for heartworm. No vaccination exists either. The monthly prevention methods are the best solution to protect your cat from heartworms. Since the drug therapy that is used for treatment of heartworms in dogs does not work for cats, it’s best for your cat’s health to stop infection before it starts. If your cat becomes infected, your cat clinic in Alexandria, VA can help stabilize your pet and develop a long-term plan for heartworm management.
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Would you like to learn more about heartworm or other cat health issues? Don’t hesitate to contact your cat clinic in Alexandria, VA with any questions or concerns. Kingstowne Cat Clinic is a locally-owned, community-focused cat clinic. We specialize in giving your feline friend the care they need. We offer wellness exams, surgery, dentistry, vaccinations and acupuncture. We also provide sedated grooming and at-home euthanasia. Contact us today for an appointment!
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