Although it’s more likely to be infected by dogs but cats too can be infected with heartworms. The parasites take up their home in the right-hand side of the heart of the heart as well as the vast blood vessels between the lungs and the heart. Once they are in the right place, the large worms can cause inflammation, damage to blood vessel walls and obstructions to blood flow that could cause symptoms like coughing, breathlessness
weight loss, vomiting and fatigue. In extreme cases, cats may be in respiratory discomfort which could be deadly. 1Don’t think that only cats who live outdoors get heartworms. About one-third of cats with heartworms are exclusively indoors. 2 All it takes is a bite of an mosquitofor your cat to be affected, and this could happen inside or out.
Because it’s much easier to deal with heartworms on cats than dogs, the most effective method of prevention is to prevent it. Here’s the information you need to know about the signs, causes treatments, and the prevention of this deadly parasite.
What Is Heartworm Disease
It is brought on by an infected caused by the roundworm parasite Dirofilaria immitis. Where Do Birds Go At Night Heartworm larvae are introduced into a cat’s body after an infected mosquito bites the animal. Since cats aren’t the ideal hosts for heartworms (dogs are the perfect host) the larvae could get weaker and then succumb to an immune system of the cat prior to creating any issues for the cat. This is the reason it’s unusual for cats to develop the full-blown heartworm infection. A lot of them don’t have any signs whatsoever. 3
If the immature heartworms remain for long enough to get to the arteries in the lungs they can trigger an inflammatory response that is generated in the body’s immune system. This could lead to serious complications such as heartworm-associated respiratory diseases (HARD) that can lead to coughing and breathing problems. The problem can get worse when a mature worm dies. If this occurs there are toxins released which can cause damage to the lungs. A single death from an adult worm is enough to trigger the sudden loss of life. 3 Other cats can suffer from chronic lung issues.
Symptoms of Heartworms in Cats
The majority of cats with the disease will not show signs of illness. Some may not show any signs whatsoever, whereas others display only faint symptoms that are common to various illnesses. A small percentage of cats show no indications until they suddenly fall down or die. 1
When cats exhibit symptoms There are two times when the illness most likely to manifest at the time the immature worms get into the arteries of the cat’s heart and lungs and when the adult heartworms are killed. 3Here are a few of the various signs that it’s possible to observe in a cat suffering from heartworms.
Causes of Heartworms
Heartworms, also known as Dirofilaria immitisare parasites that grow to amazing lengths. Females can stretch as far as 14 inches, and up to 1/8 inch in size. 2 Males tend to be much smaller nevertheless, they’re still big in comparison to the small blood vessels that line the lungs and heart of a cat’s.
The heartworm requires two host in order to complete their life cycle They require an intermediate host as well as the definitive or primary host. The host in between is mosquitoes. The primary source of heartworms is typically a wild or domestic pet, however cats and ferrets are also able to serve this function, though not as efficiently. 3
In the normal heartworm life cycle the female worms that are infecting dogs release their larvae called microfilariae into the bloodstream of the dog. When a mosquito bites a dog and then ingests the blood, it also ingests microfilariae. These in the following about two weeks grow into an infective larva in the mosquito. If you bite another pet it transmits the larva back to the animal, and the larvae develop into adults within the next one to six months and eventually mating and generating more microfilariae. In a dog’s spleen the worms may last up to 7 year. 3
In a cat but fewer worms develop into adults
However, those that do do live an average of a month to create microfilariae than the case of dogs. The majority of the time, 80-90 percent of people suffering from heartworm disease have microfilariae present in their bloodstreams, as opposed to 20 percent in affected cats. Heartworms aren’t usually found for as long as they do in dogs.
between two and four years is the typical. Overall, cat with heartworms typically have fewer adult worms than dogs. A cat with a worm infection could be as little as one or two worms in contrast to the on average 15worms dogs and up to hundreds of these deadly parasites. The adult heartworms don’t develop as large in the cat’s heart like they are within the dogs. 3
Diagnosing Heartworms in Cats
It is harder to diagnose the presence of heartworms in cat than dogs. A test for antibodies can be conducted, but it is only a way to confirm that the cat was infected with heartworms. It is not able to confirm — nor does it rule out the existence of immature worms within the cat. Another blood test commonly utilized is the test for heartworm antigen.
This test detects adult female heartworms with great accuracy but only when there are at minimum two adult female worms however this is not always the case for cats. If a cat has positive results from both tests has been confirmed to have heartworms. However, it is quite possible for an cat to show negative results on either or both of these examinations. 2
Another test for blood looks for microfilariae
present in the blood of the cat. If they are positive, it is the confirmation of the presence of heartworms. However, because the majority of the cats infected do not have larvae in their bloodstreams A negative test cannot be a conclusive proof of infection. 2
Radiographs of the chest (X-rays) or echocardiography may show signs of the damage to the lungs and heart, which is consistent with heartworm disease. can cats eat bananas However, the changes to the lungs may appear similar to asthma, and are not always a sure sign of the presence of mature heartworms. Veterinarians employ a mix of testing and cat’s clinical indicators to determine if the heartworm condition is present.
There isn’t a particular treatment for the heartworm condition in cat. The treatment offered to dogs suffering from heartworm disease isn’t appropriate for cats as it can have severe side negative effects. 2It is recommended to take care of your pet for cats suffering from heartworm disease who do not show extreme symptoms. The most common method is to administer corticosteroids continuously or intermittently to decrease inflammation.
If a cat is suffering from an attack of breathing difficulty oxygen therapy is generally ordered to ensure that the animal is stabilized. Diuretics for the removal of the cat’s lungs of fluid could also be necessary when there is a flare up of symptoms. It is important to monitor the routine to evaluate the health of the cat’s lung and general well-being. 2