Mosquitoes spread heartworm infections. Given the seriousness of the disease and prevalence of mosquitoes in our area, Foster Animal Hospital recommends year-round heartworm prevention for both cats and dogs. Prevention is much easier and effective than treatment. There is no heartworm treatment approved for cats—medicines may only help manage the symptoms.
Infected pets develop adult heartworms in their hearts and major blood vessels, eventually causing impaired lung function, heart weakness, and possibly death.
Symptoms of heartworm include:
Sadly, by the time symptoms appear, a great deal of damage has been done. Preventive care is key. The good news is that heartworms can be easily prevented. There are a variety of products on the market, most requiring a prescription and some tests before administering.
Pets do not contract heartworm by socializing with infected pets. Mosquitoes spread heartworms in pets. The female heartworm produces baby worms that circulate in the bloodstream, which they transfer through bites. Dogs are the natural “hosts” for heartworms, but they also infect cats. Indoor cats are also susceptible since mosquitoes do come indoors during warm weather months.