Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Heartworm Disease in Dogs and Cats

Heartworm Disease and Treatment Shortage

Heartworm infection is a disease we see in both dogs and cats.  Heartworms are transmitted to the dog and cat via mosquito bite.  Due to the high prevalence of mosquitos in Florida (and the whole South-East US), our pets are particularly susceptible to infection.

Fortunately, heartworm disease is both treatable and preventable. HOWEVER, as Immiticide, the only FDA approved treatment for heart worm infection is in short supply for an unknown period of time, we must all be very diligent with our prevention strategies!  I like to use Trifexis or Heartgard Plus for my heartworm prevention options in dogs.

Heartworm disease causes a number of problems:

  1. Damage to the pulmonary (lung) arteries
    • Coughing and exercise intolerance result as areas of the lung are affected.
    • Nose bleeds may occur due to abnormal blood clotting in the lung.
    • A form of non-infectious pneumonia (pulmonary eosinophilic granulomatosis) can result from excessive infiltration of inflammatory cells into the lung in response to the parasite.
  2. Heart Failure
  3. Chronic Immune Stimulation -This immune stimulation causes problems with the eyes, kidneys, blood vessels, and joints resulting in tremendous tissue damage and pain.

Heartworm in Cats

Heartworm disease in cats is quite a bit different from dogs. Cats are so small that only one adult worm can be enough to cause heart failure, plus in cats there is much more inflammation involved with the immature worms. Unfortunately in cats there is NO treatmentPrevention is our only option.  Revolution is my favorite cat preventative.

Blog by:
Kim Simons, DVM
Pet Hospice and In Home Pet Euthanasia
Dr. Kim Simons services all towns in and around Palm Beach county including Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, Highland Beach, Delray Beach, Lake Worth, Palm Beach, and Jupiter.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for an excellent article! I appreciate your insights and agree with what you wrote drontal


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