Heartworm Disease in Cats and Dogs

Know the Signs

Clinical signs or symptoms in cats include primarily coughing or difficulty breathing. Because cats tend to be couch potatoes, with limited opportunity for activity, it can be harder to identify breathing problems. Pet owners may also mistakenly assume that low energy levels, a symptom of heartworms, are a sign of aging.

In dogs, symptoms are typically hidden until later stages of the disease when they may develop cough, exercise intolerance and difficulty breathing.

Prevention

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any drugs to treat heartworm disease in cats, which is why the American Heartworm Society (AHS) is focusing on prevention.

Three drugs have been approved by the FDA to help prevent heartworm disease in cats and dogs when given on a monthly basis. Several doctors also like the fact that preventative drugs also help protect pets from other worms that can cause zoonotic disease – like hookworms and roundworms – that can be passed from pets to people.

More Information

American Heartworm Society
American Association of Feline Practitioners
American Animal Hospital Association

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