Tag: mosquitos

Feline Heartworm Disease

cat-confusedWhile cats are not natural hosts for heartworms, they are still at risk for contracting them. Just like with dogs, heartworms are contracted through mosquito bites. As we’ve mentioned before, we’re in prime mosquito territory. In areas that have mosquitoes, an incidence of 2-14% exist in cats.

Feline Heartworm Disease causes severe lung disease, heart failure, along with damage to other organs. Adult heartworms can grow to be 12 inches long. Cats will typically only have 1-3 adult worms, but they can have up to 6. It only takes 1-3 adult heartworms to cause the cat to collapse and die.

mosquito-illustration_2092x1660Cats are not natural hosts for heartworms. Their immune system is very reactive against heartworms and this makes it next to impossible to detect microfilaria in an infected cat. Microfilaria is the off-spring of adult heartworms born in the host body and found in the blood stream. If a mosquito bites a dog that has microfilaria in their blood stream, they become infected. The mosquito can then transfer the microfilaria to any cats or dogs that they bite next.

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The tests currently available detect an antigen that is given off by mature female heartworms. It takes heartworms 6 months to mature. This is why with dogs, we recommend doing a heartworm test once they’re at least 6 months of age and repeating test in 6 months if there was a lapse in prevention. However with cats, due to the limited number of heartworms that grow to maturity, they can be difficult to detect with these tests.

While heartworms can be treated in dogs, the medication used (Immiticide) is toxic to cats. Unfortunately at this time, there are no treatments available for heartworm positive cats.

revHowever, there is good news! The disease is 100% preventable. Our recommendation is Revolution. Revolution prevents fleas, roundworms, hookworms and ear mites as well as heartworms. Revolution is a topical preventative instead of an oral, making it easier to administer.  If you apply once every 30 days, your cat will not only be flea-free, but they’ll also be protected against heartworms!

Twelve common symptoms of Feline Heartworm Disease are:5625pt1

  1. Coughing
  2. Weight Loss
  3. Lethargy
  4. Gagging
  5. Vomiting
  6. Collapsing
  7. Lack of Appetite
  8. Abnormal Rapid Breathing (Tachypnea)
  9. Difficulty Breathing
  10. Blindness
  11. Convulsions
  12. Sudden Death

Remember – Mosquitos are everywhere! Just because your cat is strictly indoors only doesn’t mean that they aren’t at risk. Every pet should be on both flea and heartworm preventatives year round.

By: Candace Ivey

Concerned about your canine companion? Read about Double Defense here to learn more about heartworms in dogs & the best way to prevent your pup from them.

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The State Bird of Texas Should Be the Mosquito

Ahh… Southeast Texas. Clear Lake right outside our back doors, Galveston just down the road, and Houston not too far when you need a night on the town. We’re right in the middle of fabulous shopping, great restaurants, and a variety of outdoor leisure – we’ve got it all! But this ideal location means we also have these wonderful little monsters that thrive in the marshes and torment us all summer – they also never go away. I spend a good amount of time in the marshy wet lands all year long, and even in November and December I am usually donning the fancy aroma of OFF! to keep from being eaten alive.  Now, I only have myself to blame for being subjected to this form of torture, but at least I know my perfect duck hunting pup June doesn’t have to go through the same since we started using the Double Defense program last summer.

We all know mosquitoes carry some terrible diseases that can gravely affect humans, like malaria, West Nile and Zika virus. But did you know the same mosquitoes spread heartworms to dogs?

In the past, preventing your dog from getting heartworms was as simple as giving them a tablet every month but heartworms have begun developing resistance to these medications. These resistant strains of heartworms have now been found in all 50 states. The American Heartworm Association is the leader in keeping us up to date with the newest heartworm prevention protocols and allowing us to pass these on to you in order to protect our pets as much as we can.  They are recommending that veterinarians offer a topical preventative that repels mosquitos to use along with your monthly heartworm prevention. This is called Double Defense, and is a protocol that not only the AHA is recommending, but AAHA is backing this as well. Vectra 3D for dogs, by Ceva, not only repels and kills mosquitos but it also kills and repels fleas, ticks, and flies. Keep in mind-while oral preventatives work wonderfully, they have no repelling action and do not prevent your patients from being bitten, thus contracting a disease. When you consider a dog can be bitten over 80 times by mosquitoes in a single evening, it’s not hard to see the importance of protecting your dog against mosquito bites just like you protect yourself and your family.

Vectra 3D for Dogs used in conjunction with an oral heartworm prevention gives mosqitos and heartworms the one-two punch. After a dog is exposed to an infected mosquito, heartworm preventives work on the inside to kill larvae before they grow into adult heartworms. That’s very important. Add in a single application of Vectra® 3D for Dogs and you’ll be helping by killing mosquitos before they bite, knocking out fleas in less than 2 hours, and repelling and killing ticks – what’s better is Vectra kills by contact, so your pet does not have to be bitten in order for the pests to die. Together, they provide a double defense. It’s like brushing your teeth and flossing. Each can help you maintain good oral hygiene, but together they work to give you the most protection.by: Kaitie Barczak