Feline heartworm disease is a serious parasitic disease caused by a long, thin worm, Dirofilaria immitis, that lives in the blood vessels and heart of infected cats.
There are several myths associated with this important disease. Let's discuss them.
Myth #1. Cats don't get heartworm disease.
This is not true. Some cat owners don't realize that cats can get heartworm disease but they do!
Myth #2. Heartworm disease is easily treated in cats.
This is not true. Heartworm disease in cats is very difficult to treat in cats.
Myth #3. Heartworm disease in cats only affects outdoor or indoor/outdoor cats.
This is NOT true. Heartworm disease can affect indoor only cats as mosquitoes can come in to most homes.
Myth #4. Heartworms in cats don't grow or grow only to be very small.
Inside the cat, the microscopic heartworm can grow into a parasite exceeding a foot in length.
Myth #5. You can't prevent heartworms in cats.
This is not true! Medications are available to prevent worm development using safe and effective drugs. I have my own indoor only cats on preventative monthly medications.
Myth #6. Heartworm disease is only present in the most southern part of the U.S.
This is not true. Heartworms are present (endemic) in most parts of the United States and in many parts of North America. Mosquitoes are the key – without them the disease cannot spread.
For more information about heartworm disease and prevention, go to Heartworm Disease in Cats.