Learn The Symptoms Of Heartworm In Cats

Learn The Symptoms Of Heartworm In CatsPhoto © Tyler Olson – Fotolia.com

Beware cat owners and feline enthusiasts! One menacing threat lurks in the shadows of areas densely populated by mosquitoes, waiting for the right opening to invade your cat’s heart. And it only takes a seemingly harmless bite from a mosquito that carries the disease to set everything into motion.

Heartworms are thin roundworms with a parasitic taste for residing in the arteries of the lungs, the lung themselves, and the heart of your cat. Scientifically named as Dirofilaria immitis, heartworms are spread from host to host through a mosquito’s bite.

Although dogs are the natural or definitive hosts of these parasitic worms, infection in cats does occur, albeit less common than in dogs. Cats are relatively resistant to heartworm infection. When those heartworm larvae make it through the cat’s skin and bloodstream via a mosquito’s bite, most of them cannot handle the harsh environment a cat’s body provides and eventually succumb to the cat’s immune response. There are few however who manage to reach the feline heart, or lung, or lung arteries where they wreak havoc.

Big things really can come in small packages, and this can sometimes be bad news for your cat! The inflammatory response induced by the presence of white spaghetti-like worms in the lung arteries, the lungs, and the heart produces a wide array of distressing symptoms and signs attributable to the heartworm infection. Your cat may vomit at irregular intervals, and this sometimes occurs with blood. Your cat may also suffer from diarrhea and a loss in appetite. His respiratory system is compromised too, revealing signs of difficulty in breathing as well as coughing and gagging. And yes, death’s hands may claim an unfortunate cat’s life in the end. All of these just because of some nasty worms of a few centimeters in length….

Heartworm infection is certainly something you don’t want your cat to acquire. For a thorough, more in-depth read on heartworms and their treatment, check out this article: http://www.cat-world.com.au/heartworm-in-cats (via web archive)

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Learn The Symptoms Of Heartworm in Cats
Graphic – lovable-cats.com. Image © Tyler Olson – fotolia.com (under license)

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