Cats may show symptoms of heart disease at two distinct points. Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD) may result when immature heartworms die and an inflammatory response is triggered in the cat’s lungs. The second time symptoms may show up is during the death of a mature heartworm. The worm releases a toxin, which can be fatal. Symptoms are often non-specific and include:
- Respiratory problems
- Lung damage
- Decreased activity and appetite
- Weight loss
Detecting heartworms in a cat can be tricky. Most cases cannot be detected until the worms have infected the bloodstream of the host animal. Two types of blood tests are used, though it is generally harder to detect a heartworm infection in cats.
Ultrasounds and x-rays can be used for cats that are showing advanced symptoms. Cats that have not been on heartworm prevention or have been off of it for over a month should be tested before starting preventative measures once again.
Heartworm treatment can be difficult for your pet, you and your wallet. Other than surgery in extreme cases, the treatment options for dogs, cats and ferrets are limited. Don’t let heartworm disease become a problem for your cat’s health. Prevention is truly the best treatment. There are a variety of FDA-approved preventatives that your pet can take. Simply call us to learn more about these products.
Our experienced veterinarians are prepared to answer your questions about heartworm disease and offer the best preventatives to keep your pet safe. You can reach us at (956) 787-2709 to schedule an appointment.