Is there a treatment for my cat if it develops heartworms?
NO. Heartworm disease in cats is much better prevented than treated. This is because the traditional heartworm treatment used for dogs results in death of the cat in a high percentage of cases. If the heartworms are killed they cause blood clots in the major vessels and this can cause death.
Should my Cat be placed on prevention if it is positive for heartworms?
If your cats has tested positive it should be started on Advantage Multi for Cats as soon as it is diagnosed. Ivermectin containing heartworm preventions for cats have also been used. These medications prevent additional heartworms and shorten the life of heartworms present in your cat.
What do I do if my pet is positive for heartworms?
When a cat has been tested positive for heartworms the first thing we do is evaluate the lungs for damage caused by the heartworms. If there is lung damage, then we treat the lung damage. If the ultrasound shows that the adult heartworms are in the heart and vena cava then surgical options may be discussed.
What can happen to my cat if it has heartworms?
If your cat has adult heartworms present in its lungs or large blood vessels then sudden death is possible and happens in about 50% of the cases. Severe acute shock with respiratory collapse can be treated successfully with aggressive hospitalization and critical care.
How is the heartworm surgery done?
Heartworms can be removed from cats in the same way that they are from dogs with caval syndrome (heartworms present in the heart and vena cava). A small incision is made over the right jugular vein. Next pair of forceps are placed in the vein and passed down into the heart to remove the worms which are about 12 inches long.
See an example of this procedure in action: