A heartless disease

By Connie Orcutt • Published: April 1st, 2013
Category: Animal Airwaves

You might think heartworm disease is only a dog dilemma, but it can cause big problems in our feline friends, too.

Mosquitoes carrying immature heartworms, or larvae, can inject them into both cats and dogs through a bite. The larvae make their way to a cat’s lungs, where they cause some nasty inflammation. Affected kitties often gag, cough, pant and work hard to breathe. But in other cats, the only signs of heartworm disease may be lethargy, anorexia, weight loss or vomiting.

Heartworm disease is less common in cats than in dogs, so it is often misdiagnosed as a more common cat problem, such as asthma or allergic bronchitis. The disease in cats can be tough to treat, so prevention is key. And since both outdoor and indoor kitties are at risk of infection, ask your vet about heartworm prevention for your cat.