If you live in an area where heartworm is prevalent it’s likely that you give your dogs heartworm preventatives. But does your cat need this as well?
First let’s talk about what heartworm is. Unlike other worms our kitties can get that live in the intestines, heartworms live in the heart. A lot of people think that if they do a regular deworming on their pooches or kitties, they will be taking care of any heartworm too but this isn’t the case.
Heartworms are contracted one way and that is through the bite of an infected mosquito. So let’s think about that for both our canine and felines. When are mosquitoes out? During the warmer weather. Have you ever seen a mosquito during a cold winter? Nope! So just a side note for our canine owners. We don’t want our pooches to get heartworm but we do NOT need to give them a preventative year round, just sayin! When I lived in the Midwest, I would give heartworm preventatives until the second hard frost and then would stop for the winter months. I would then start back up in May after getting all my pooches tested first.
Cats & Heartworms
Noticed I talked about my canines above and not my felines. That’s because kitties are not a natural host for heartworms. Please understand this does not mean your cat cannot get heartworm, it is rare but can happen. Giving a monthly preventative can give peace of mind but they do come with a long list of potential side effects. In situations like these it’s good to ask yourself if the risks of the treatment/preventative outweigh the risks of the disease.
For me personally that answer would be no. However, we don’t want to just ignore that heartworm is out there. Before running to the vet and putting Fluffy on heartworm preventatives, let’s think about a few things. Since our kitties are mostly indoor and are not the ideal host for heartworm, what can we do to protect our cats when we opt out of giving the preventatives?
When mosquitoes are most active we want to keep their population down as much as possible. Mosquitos breed in standing water so get rid of any standing water on your property. If you use bird baths just be sure to change the water frequently. Make sure your screens on your doors and windows don’t have any holes in them and are secure. Use natural mosquito repellents like our Flea eX.
Heartworm is a concern but since our cats are not a likely host with a few simple and natural steps we can keep them safe. Remember to have your cat checked out by a vet at least yearly and if you are in a high risk area for heartworm, have your vet run a heartworm test to rule out your cat being infected.