Heartworm Disease in Cats: Prevention is Treatment

Commonly, we consider heartworm disease as one that only affects dogs, not cats. However, cats are at the same risk of contracting this serious disease. Just like dogs, cats can get heartworms when they are bitten by an infected mosquito.Cats that go outdoors are more likely to be exposed, however, a mosquito can easily get into the house and infect the cat. Different from dogs, most heartworm larvae in cats do not grow into adult worms, because the cat is not the ideal host. Yet, heartworm larvae can create permanent damage to the lungs and blood vessels, and affect the immune system. Adult worms take up residence within the heart, clogging blood vessels and interfering with the heart valves.

Signs & Symptoms

Cats infected with heartworm disease may show little to no symptoms or experience serious complications. Diagnosis can require an exam, blood tests, and X-rays to confirm infection. Symptoms may include the following:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Asthma-like attacks
  • Loss of appetite and/or weight loss
  • Fainting or seizures
  • Sudden collapse or death

Treatment and Prevention

Prevention equals the best medicine. Currently, no treatment or drug therapy exists for cats infected with heartworm disease. Heartworm preventative medications kill immature worms and keep new infections from developing if an infected mosquito bites your cat again. All heartworm medications require a prescription from your veterinarian, for the purpose of annual blood testing to be sure your cat is not infected. Preventative medications are highly effective, but cats may still become infected. Even with a single missed dose. Giving heartworm medication to infected cats may lead to serious reactions.

April represents National Heartworm Disease Awareness Month, but this disease does not follow a season. Because heartworm disease has been diagnosed in all 50 states, the American Heartworm Society recommends that you “think 12:” (1) get your pet tested every 12 months for heartworm and (2) give your pet heartworm preventive 12 months a year.

VetRxDirect has a variety of heartworm and parasite preventative treatments for cats. Because these require a prescription, choosing the right medication for your cat should be done with the help of your veterinarian to make sure they have the best protection.

Heartgard for Cats at VetRxDirectHeartgard for Cats

  • Kills heartworm larvae in cats
  • Eliminates adult and immature hookworms
  • Tasty chewable
  • Give once a month
  • Safe for cats six weeks and older

 

Revolution for Heartworm Disease Prevention at VetRxDirectRevolution for Cats

  • Kills fleas and controls flea infestations
  • Eliminates hookworm and roundworm
  • Prevents heartworm disease
  • Treats and controls ear mites
  • Convenient monthly topical treatment

 

Advantage Multi At VetRxDirectAdvantage Multi for Cats

  • Prevents heartworm disease
  • Kills fleas and controls flea infestation
  • Eliminates hookworms and roundworms
  • Treats and controls ear mites
  • Broad spectrum, monthly topical treatment

 

Prevent the Flea Life Cycle on Your Pet

Fleas are the most common external parasite on dogs and cats. They tend to build up during the summer months and early fall, but can be a year round problem indoors.  Fleas cause itching and irritation which leads to dermatitis that can become severe if your pet becomes allergic to the flea bites.

Fleas prefer dogs and cats, but when they are in sufficient numbers they will start to bite you. Control of fleas has always been a challenge because only adult fleas live on the pet. The majority of the flea population (eggs, larvae, and pupa) live off the pet, in and around the house. The adult fleas cause all of the symptoms, but represent less than 10% of the total flea life cycle population.

The Flea Life Cycle

Eggs are laid in the hair coat of pets and fall off in and around the house. Eggs are resistant to many insecticides. Eggs hatch and develop into larvae which feed on digested blood excreted by the adult flea. Larvae then develop into pupae (cocoons) and can remain dormant or develop rapidly into adults. Pupae are also resistant to insecticides. The life cycle of the flea is about 21 days in the right conditions but can be as short as 16 days. Adult females live 4-6 weeks and can lay up to 40 eggs per day. Once adult fleas emerge they are very hungry and will immediately seek a blood meal from your pet. Yuck!

Flea Control

Physical cleaning and vacuuming your environment is very helpful in reducing the amount of eggs and immature fleas. But eggs and immature fleas are very small and can hide in the smallest places and some stages can lay dormant until the right conditions exist. Total flea control requires cleaning and treatment of the environment as well as treatment of the pet. It is much easier to prevent fleas than treat them once they have infested the house and pets.

Common Flea Control Products:

Lufeneron

Lufeneron is available in a once per month tablet or oral solution branded Program and in the prescription heartworm medicine branded Sentinel. Lufeneron keeps flea eggs from hatching, helping to break the flea life cycle. It is also available from your veterinarian as a six month injection for cats.

Pyriproxifen (Nylar)

Pyriproxifen (Nylar) is an insect growth regulator found in many household sprays and foggers. Brands include Mycodex and Virbac Knockout. One treatment can last up to 150 days, but always follow the instructions found on the product’s label.

Imidacloprid

Imidacloprid is a topical adult pesticide for pets applied monthly. Advantage II for Cats and Advantage II for Dogs contain imidacloprid. It is combined with permethrin for tick control in dogs in the branded product Advantix II. Advantix should not be applied to cats. Imidacloprid is combined with moxidectin in the prescription topical medications for heartworm prevention, the branded products Advantage Multi for Cats and Advantage Multi for Dogs.

Fipronil

Fipronil is a topical adult insecticide found in Frontline, Certifect, Effipro for Cats, Effitix for Dogs, and many other products. These products are applied topically once a month. Fipronil controls both fleas and ticks. In Frontline Plus and Certifect, it is combined with S-Methoprene, an insect growth regulator, to control adult and immature fleas. Certifect and Effitix should not be used on cats.

Selamectin

Selamectin is a prescription medicine for dogs and cats that controls fleas and heartworms as well as other listed parasites. Selamectin is available as a product branded Revolution for Cats and Revolution for Dogs and is applied topically to the pet once per month

Nitenpyram

Nitenpyram is the flea medicine contained in Capstar Tablets. It kills fleas rapidly as soon as it is ingested by the dog or cat. It only lasts a short time but can be repeated daily as needed.

Secondary Problems Caused by Fleas

Fleas are not only a nuisance, they can also cause severe diseases in pets. Fleas carry tapeworm larvae which can lead to tapeworm infections in dogs and cats. All pets infested with fleas should be wormed for tapeworms after the fleas are under control. Virbantel is an excellent tapeworm treatment.

Even a few fleas can cause skin problems in dogs and cats and may not even be readily observable. This may cause skin problems which are hard to discern from seasonal allergies since both are common in the spring, summer, and fall.

It is easier and less expensive to prevent fleas than treat them once they have infested your house and pets. So, start your pet on a flea preventative today.

Which flea preventatives have you used on your pet? How did the flea medicine work? Do you have suggestion on controlling fleas in the home? Please leave your comments below.

VetRxDirect is here to help keep your pet flea free,

Wes

 

Pet Meds for Heartworm Prevention

Placing pets on monthly medications for the prevention and treatment of heartworms not only saves pet’s lives, it also saves you a lot of money. Treating a pet with advanced heartworm disease is not only costly, but the outcome is not always pleasant for pets due to the harsh treatment on their bodies.

Here are some ways you can protect your pet from heartworm disease.

Oral Heartworm Disease Preventatives Available at VetRxDirect

Oral Heartworm Preventatives Available at VetRxDirect

Oral medications used to protect your cats and dogs from heartworm disease are now available in great tasting flavors pets will love. Some brands that supply these oral medications are:

Revolution for Cats Available at VetRxDirect

Revolution for Cats Available at VetRxDirect

 

 

Topical solutions for preventing and treating heartworms, as well as fleas and ticks, can effectively safeguard your pets. Talk to your veterinarian about these great products:

 

Most veterinarians prescribe a year supply of heartworm preventative after performing an annual heartworm test on your pet. After this exam, place your order at VetRxDirect.com. We will contact your veterinarian for prescription approval as soon as possible, usually the same business day. Placing orders at VetRxDirect is always easy and we ship fast- and FREE when your order is over $39.

The prevention of heartworm disease is always better than treatment. Do not let your pet live another day with the risk of heartworms. Talk to your veterinarian about protecting your pet with an oral medication or topical solution today!

Which preventative are you currently using on your pet? Does your pet like the taste or was it easy to apply? Let us know your experiences by leaving comments below.

Have a great weekend,

Wes