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Feline heartworm?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I brought my boy in for his annual wellness check and rabies shot, and I came home with heartworm meds. I know that for humans, big pharma is always looking for a new revenue stream, and I worry about giving my cat something that is not necessary.

But the vet had a pamphlet from the heartworm society, and he explained it to me-no hard sell. My vet is someone I trust. I don't thing there's a BIG chance that my boy could get heartworm, since he's totally indoors, but I DO occasionally get a mosquito in the house, and technically he could get infected. I worry about the effects of a med he might not need, but my vet says that there should be no ill effects--except that he might itch at the site (it's topical), in which case they'd switch to a pill.

So tomorrow I'm going to apply his first monthly dose. What do you all think?
post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappilyRetired View Post
I brought my boy in for his annual wellness check and rabies shot, and I came home with heartworm meds. I know that for humans, big pharma is always looking for a new revenue stream, and I worry about giving my cat something that is not necessary.

But the vet had a pamphlet from the heartworm society, and he explained it to me-no hard sell. My vet is someone I trust. I don't thing there's a BIG chance that my boy could get heartworm, since he's totally indoors, but I DO occasionally get a mosquito in the house, and technically he could get infected. I worry about the effects of a med he might not need, but my vet says that there should be no ill effects--except that he might itch at the site (it's topical), in which case they'd switch to a pill.

So tomorrow I'm going to apply his first monthly dose. What do you all think?
Do you treat him for fleas? If so, a good alternative is to use Revolution, which prevents heartworm, treats parasites, ear mites, and oof course fleas and ticks.
I was researching Heartworm, and apparently both indoors and outdoors cats have the same risks, it all really depends on the area you live. Texas is one of the worst areas, I think - 42,000 cases last year (dogs); I am not sure about NY. Lucky is currently on Revolution, but Bugsy is allergic - I will put him on heartguard starting next month.
post #3 of 8
Feline heartworms definitely is something to be concerned about. Especially in the southern US. I live in northwest Louisiana, part of what is affectionately known as "heartworm alley", both for canines and felines. I've seen several cases of suspected feline heartworms, and a few confirmed cases.

I agree with carolinalima, Revolution is an excellent option for heartworm prevention, as it protects against so many other things as well. Heartworm prevention for cats, especially in high heartworm areas, is a must. There is no approved or very successful treatment for feline heartworms. It's basically an eventual death sentence.
post #4 of 8
If you're in upstate New York, your cat's risk is much lower than in the South or around the Gulf Coast. I'm from VT. Mostly 'cause our mosquito season in much shorter.

That said, since many people in the northern states have adopted Katrina dogs and cats and the infection rate among those pets is very high, there might be an increase in the north.

Also, with cats it only take one or two worms to potencially kill your pet. And in cats there is no treatment for positive testing pets as I understand it.

It's your choice to weigh the risks. I personally have never treated a cat expresly for fear of heartworm, but we did have a cat that we revolution treated on a regular basis because she hunted outdoors. Our current family pet is allergic to Revolution.
post #5 of 8
I had the same information from my vet, but I've weighed the chance of them getting infected against my aversion to feeding them chemicals each month, and I don't give it to them. IMO, it's a risk either way.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
It IS Revolution that my vet gave me, and I didn't realize until I read the enclosed info that it was good for fleas, too. I haven't treated him for fleas, but I've always worried because I know I can track them in, etc. Several years ago, my former cat got fleas (which I know she got at the groomer), so I think it's probably good that I treat him for both with Revolution.

As another poster noted, I worry about treating him with chemicals every month vs. the potential of his getting heartworms, but I've decided to go with the Revolution for now. If I didn't treat him and he actually got heartworm, I know I'd never forgive myself.

THANKS for all your helpful responses.
post #7 of 8
Timely discussion - I hadn't worried about feline heartworm that much since I'm in northern Illinois with indoor cats, but recent newletters from Cornell & Tufts (yes, I get both!) have both talked about heartworm and a rising incidence, even away from the southern US. Sounds to me like your vet is keeping pretty darn current - I know I'm asking mine about this at their upcoming checkup.
post #8 of 8
An update - there was a letter from my vet when I arrived home, with a brochure from the heartwork society re the risk to indoor cats and an invitation to call about and discuss it. And a coupon for Revolution. I'm planning on calling tomorrow.
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