Top 10 Reasons "Safe" Pets Get Heartworms

Filed Under: Dogs, Cats, Reptiles, Parasites

10) Being unaware that cats and ferrets as well as dogs may become infected with heartworms.

9) Being in denial that there are mosquitos in your area.

8) Having a pet that refuses to take oral medication even if it is disguised as a treat.

7) Using a topical heartworm preventative and then bathing your pet frequently with harsh shampoos that strip the medication from the coat.

6) Skipping one or more doses of heartworm preventative.

5) Splitting a larger heartworm tablet or chewy for a lower weight pet. The distribution of medication may not be evenly distributed throughout the tablet or chewy thereby causing the pet to receive an inadequate dose of medication

4) Not checking a new dog for heartworms and starting a preventative program or not starting a new puppy or kitten on heartworm preventative as a young pet.

3) Not increasing the heartworm preventative dosage with the weight of the pet. For example: starting a puppy on a certain dosage and then failing to increase the dose of heartworm preventative as the puppy grows.

2) Assuming that your pet is safe because he/she spends no time outside. Outdoor cats that are constantly bombarded with mosquitoes mount a stronger immune response to heartworms than indoor cats that are infrequently exposed. Indoor cats are thereby more susceptible to heartworm infection than are outside cats. Don’t forget that mosquitoes can come inside the house, too. And it only takes one mosquito bite to transmit heartworms.

1) Not using heartworm preventative year round. Many owners stop heartworm preventative too early in the fall or winter and/or start too late in the spring. Dogs will need to be retested before resuming a heartworm preventative program, thereby negating any cost savings. The pet needs to stay on heartworm preventative for two months after there are no longer any mosquitoes present. In most parts of the U.S., year round use of heartworm preventatives is necessary.

Topics: heartworms

Similar entries

  • Currently all heartworm products for dogs are given on a monthly basis. These should only be given to dogs who have been tested for heartworms and found to be free of disease. The cost of testing is nominal and only requires taking a blood sample. Most veterinary clinics will conduct the test in a hospital laboratory and have the results 8 to 10 minutes later.

  • Currently there are two forms of heartworm preventative approved for use in the cat.

  • Heartworms can be a problem anywhere mosquitoes inhabit. This disease syndrome is especially prevalent in Florida and the other Gulf Coast States. Due to their mild climate, these states are pestered by mosquitoes year round.

  • Feline asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that affects one percent of all adult cats. It is characterized by recurrent and sudden attacks of dyspnea (difficult breathing), and is caused by a spasmodic contraction of the bronchi.

    Symptoms you may notice include wheezing, labored breathing, coughing, and frantic attempts to obtain air. Cat coughing sounds more like a hairball being passed than a human cough. The disease can be caused by allergies, smoke, inhalation of small particles, or bacterial infections. Feline asthma is also a common side affect of heartworms.

  • Does your dog have heartworms or Dirofilaria immitis? There is a long list of complications that may occur as a result of heartworm disease or in the treatment thereof. New research has shown that a gram-negative intracellular bacterium by the name of Wolbachia may be responsible for many of these complications and side-effects.