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Do you give your cats heartworm meds?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I live in a moderately low risk state (Virginia) for heartworm and a vet recommended I treat my indoor only kitten for heartworm. This would be a monthly application of pesticide on his fur! I said I had to think about it.

In all my 18 years of owning cats I've never had a vet suggest heartworm medication to me. This new vet was not our regular vet and she was very young and I didn't like her style (she used scare tactics like "there's no symptoms of heartworm...they just suddenly drop dead").

I can see maybe using Frontline on him for fleas when he gets older because he does go out on our screened in porch, but I don't think mosquitos are a big problem in the DC area. I'm not originally from here, though, so I don't know.

Anyway, how many of you have your cats on monthly heartworm treatment?
post #2 of 20
NO... and I NEVER will... Thou it cant be proven , there is some evidence my dogs liver issues stem from me BLINDLY giving her that pill like the vets said....

Cats are LESS likely to get heartworm
post #3 of 20
I live in an area where we have very few mosquitos (Oregon), but I'm still considering using Revolution (which protects against fleas, ear mites, heartworm and a few other things) on my indoor cats next summer (I have Frontline that I already bought and I want to use that for now). The Atlantic and Gulf coasts are where most of the heartworm infections occur, so I might consider using it if I were you, especially in the form of a product like Revolution (which I've heard is very safe).

If you're torn, seek out another vet--you don't like your current one anyway--and get a second opinion.

http://www.heartwormsociety.org/article.asp?id=14
http://www.knowheartworms.org/incidencemap.asp
post #4 of 20
Nope they don't go outside and the dog is given her heartworm meds. So far this season the mosquitos have been down due to dryer weather.
post #5 of 20
Both the dog and cat are on heartguard... The dog brings god knows what into the house and I do take Oliver outside on his leash regularly... we're in Jersey and get a decent amount of mosquitos
post #6 of 20
YES! Ok, I'm probably going to be in the minority here, but I think it is extremely important. Everyone, I can not stress enough how important this is. Please, before anyone just stops reading, at least read what I have to say. My vet never recommended it to me, either, because Smuckers was a strictly indoor cat. We got her when she was 2yrs old. When she was 12yrs old, she had the symptoms of losing weight, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. This seemed to happen overnight. I took her to the vet and had a full CBC panel done on her. Everything was normal. Even though, she had always been indoors, the vet decided to run a HW test on her. It was positive. There is no treatment for HWs in cats. She kept getting worse. We lost her 2 months before her 13th birthday. Ever since then, I swore that I would never bring in another cat without putting her on prevention. If someone had told me this before, I would have blown it off and thought, "Yeah, right...maybe in your area, but not here." Well, I learned the hard way, and if I can possibly help someone to not go through the pain that I went through, then I'll do it. I don't believe in trying to "use scare tactics", so that's not my intention. I'm only stating facts of what happened. Everyone has to use his/her own judgement, but had I used the prevention, Smuckers could still be with me today. I use Revolution on mine.
post #7 of 20
I never gave heartworm meds because we really don't have a lot of musquitos here in the area. But after reading some posts here I'm going to look deeper into it and discuss it with our vet next week. Thanks for the info all, I appreciate it.
post #8 of 20
My 11 week old kitten was treated with this today at the vets
http://www.petmeds.co.uk/Advocate-Small-Cat
and it does heartworm too. I think it's more routine in the UK as more cats are indoor and outdoor.
post #9 of 20
I've never treated Chase for heartworms, and don't really plan to. My dog, Perky, gets Heartgard, though. I've just seen sooo many people in the area have dogs get it, so it seems like the risks of the prevention are worth it here.
post #10 of 20
From what I've read, if dogs in the area are at risk, cats are too.
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNKittyMom View Post
YES! Ok, I'm probably going to be in the minority here, but I think it is extremely important. Everyone, I can not stress enough how important this is. Please, before anyone just stops reading, at least read what I have to say. My vet never recommended it to me, either, because Smuckers was a strictly indoor cat. We got her when she was 2yrs old. When she was 12yrs old, she had the symptoms of losing weight, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. This seemed to happen overnight. I took her to the vet and had a full CBC panel done on her. Everything was normal. Even though, she had always been indoors, the vet decided to run a HW test on her. It was positive. There is no treatment for HWs in cats. She kept getting worse. We lost her 2 months before her 13th birthday. Ever since then, I swore that I would never bring in another cat without putting her on prevention. If someone had told me this before, I would have blown it off and thought, "Yeah, right...maybe in your area, but not here." Well, I learned the hard way, and if I can possibly help someone to not go through the pain that I went through, then I'll do it. I don't believe in trying to "use scare tactics", so that's not my intention. I'm only stating facts of what happened. Everyone has to use his/her own judgement, but had I used the prevention, Smuckers could still be with me today. I use Revolution on mine.
I'm so sorry for what you went through and I hear what you are saying. I think I'm going to go ahead and get him on Revolution. I don't want to take any chances with my baby. I've always lived in Western states like AZ, CA and UT where there were virtually no mosquitos so the heartworm issue is new to me.
post #12 of 20
at my last vet appt. it was recomended by the tech. I was a little shocked(brand new medicine, my cat has medical issues-urinary blockages, antibiotic intolerances...)but she told me silently she must ask/and push it a little with clients...I asked her you have cats? yes 5...are they on it? NEVER. With me I have to forgo some medical stuff(not talking about life or death but with this many I deal at home with minor medical issues) to me this would never be something I'll do unless HW Drastically increases in cats in my area. Q for anyone who knows...I have heard a "off label use" of dog hw tablets is to use it to treat the hw infestation...and it works the same if not better then the reg. hw treatment. it was on some shelter websites.
post #13 of 20
My cats are currently on Revolution for fleas, but the heartworm preventative is only a "perk". I chose Revoltion because Molly's hair won't fall out so bad from it. And flea treatment is necessary for me right now.

Yes, there is a risk of heartworm. But I feel that the risks of treatment outweight the benefits for my cats.
post #14 of 20
I am an advocate for HW preventative for cats for a very personal reason. I have 2 (had 3) strictly indoor Himalayan cats. Thick, thick fur. As part of their yearly health maintenance screening, one came back positive for HW antigen. He had an echocardiogram, negative for live heart worms but explained that the cat's heart can only accomodate, 1-4 worms. They exit through the blood stream through the lungs. Chest x-ray did show abnormalities, what they call "interstitial lung disease." Patchy infiltrates/scar tissue. Initially he didn't have any symptoms but slowly/surely started having respiratory symptoms (lots of coughing). He did well on prednisone for 2-1/2 years. Unfortunately, he developed osteosarcoma that spread to his lungs and died this past January. What are the odds of an infected mosquito getting into the house and biting through all that thick fur??? It happens. We use Revolution.
post #15 of 20
I too have had a kitty die from heartworms. She was only 5, indoor only kitty. I lived in MN at the time. It was the most horrific death I have ever seen. She threw a pulmonary embolism, basically a clot made up of a dead worm into her lungs. She suffocated on her own fluids before my eyes and it was not quick.

I tested my other kitty from MN and she too was heartworm positive. Thankfully she survived the die off and is now 12. Even though I live in a desert environment now, I still use revolution during the rainy season just in case.

The rate of heartworm in cats is really unknown because so many people fail to get necropsies done on cats. New research is showing it is much more prevalent than was once thought.

Everyone will have to decide on their own risk levels and what is acceptable for themselves and their kitties. I just wanted to add to the fact that heartworm does indeed occur in indoor only kitties and it can and does kill them. I don't want anyone to be under a false sense of security from the old beliefs that heartworm is uncommon in cats and not really a risk.
post #16 of 20
I'd like to add that when I called my vet (a trusted friend) to get her to ok the heartgard Rx for entirely pets, she told me it wasn't really necessary if Oliver stayed inside... I found it kind of strange for her to suggest this - I don't know if it's just something that gets ingrained in DVM's brains or what, but when I told her I take Oilver out on his leash and reminded her of Cuddles (the dog that brings in all kinds of bugs from outside), haha she agreed that it'd probably be a good idea.... in high school and my first year of college, I did reports on heartworm disease and there's very little (or at least was at the time) information on heartworm in cats... personally, I think it's being gravely overlooked and ignored....
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
My cats are currently on Revolution for fleas, but the heartworm preventative is only a "perk".
Yep same here. When I was younger living with my mom we always had cats. My mother has had 2 dogs get heartworms (she is much more careful now) but non of the cats we had ever got heartworms. I don't feel the risk of getting heartworms is high enough to treat my cats every month like I do my dog.
post #18 of 20
I treat my cats with Revolution in the summer months. Chances are if it's too cold for fleas then there won't be any mosquitos either. 2 are outdoor only and 3 are indoor cats.
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by kitytize View Post
Yep same here. When I was younger living with my mom we always had cats. My mother has had 2 dogs get heartworms (she is much more careful now) but non of the cats we had ever got heartworms. I don't feel the risk of getting heartworms is high enough to treat my cats every month like I do my dog.
You have been lucky. I hope you never have to experience it, because as you can see a few of us have experienced it and it's horrible. Of course, mosquitos may not be a problem in your area, but it only takes 1 mosquito. Honestly, I felt the same way as you, because I grew up with cats and never had a cat to get heartworms, that I know of, but we never tested for them, so I can't say that we never did honestly. This morning I talked to the vet's office that had seen Lucy (our foster) at her last visit. The lady, at the front desk, and I were talking about HWs. She said that she wished that more people would listen to them and would understand how it's out there more than people think, but she said that she hears too many people say that they don't need it because their cats never go outside. What they don't understand is that we're in a higher risk area. She said that just in the past week alone, they have had 4 cats that came in who tested positive for HWs. I feel like eventually HW prevention is going to be as well-known for cats as it is for dogs, but we're just in the early stages of the public being educated.
post #20 of 20
I also use revolution, April-December.
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