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Heartworm in Cats

Litster, A. L. and R. B. Atwell (2008). “Feline heartworm disease: a clinical review.” J Feline Med Surg 10(2): 137-44.

Heartworm disease is caused by Dirofilaria immitis and is transmitted by mosquitoes in heartworm-endemic areas around the world. Dogs and other canids are the definitive hosts, but cats can also be infected. In endemic areas, it is estimated that the feline infection rate is about 5-10% of the canine infection rate. While many cats infected with heartworm have no signs of disease, others may have chronic respiratory signs similar to asthma, or chronic vomiting, or acute death. Diagnosis of feline heartworm is challenging, as there is no single perfect test methodology. Treatment is also problematic as there are no adulticides judged to be safe and effective in cats. Most infected cats are managed with supportive care. A number of safe and effective drugs are available for prevention of heartworm infection in cats, in both oral and topical formulations.
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Related articles:
Hoch, H. and K. Strickland (2008). “Canine and feline dirofilariasis: life cycle, pathophysiology, and diagnosis.” Comp Contin Edu Vet 30(3): 133-141.
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Hoch, H. and K. Strickland (2008). “Canine and feline dirofilariasis: prophylaxis, treatment, and complications of treatment.” Comp Contin Edu Vet 30(3): 146-151.
>> PubMed abstract

KNOW Heartworms