Among the many domesticated animals out there, one of the more popular choices is the feline species. This is so because cats are low maintenance and are easy to take care of. However, to the experienced cat owner, he knows that to ensure that his feline friend stays in shape is to keep him free from the causes of any known diseases.
One of these diseases is heartworms. Heartworms are parasitic roundworms which greatly affects the heart and the blood vessels in the lungs. These infect cats using being bitten by mosquitos carrying heartworm larvae. Although heartworm in cats has a shorter life span than those found in dogs, it is still best to know its symptoms, and how it can be treated.
Visible symptoms of heartworm in cats include coughing, raspy breathing, and vomiting. But since these symptoms may also be associated with milder diseases, newbie owners often tend to dismiss it as a minor issue. Take note that chronic heartworm infection, if not treated properly, may even lead to respiratory problems and complications. That is why there is a need to take the cat to the nearest pet clinic to have him diagnosed professionally.
However, there are no prescribed means to diagnose heartworm in cats. Common tests employed include heartworm antigen and antibody tests, and urine analysis. Some owners may opt to have their pets x-rayed since doing so reveals if the heartworm resulted in enlarged arteries and veins. On the other hand, there are also some owners who would go to the extremes and have their cats subjected to an electrocardiograph or ECG. Although it may come at a price, an ECG is the most effective means to determine whether the heart is being infested, and may even detect other heart ailments which may have resulted to such infestation.
The more extreme cases of heartworm in cats, more often than not, require surgical intervention. Milder cases, on the other hand, cure spontaneously since heartworm in cats often has short lifespans. However, medication is necessary to resist further infestation and help strengthen his immune system.
It is also important to have regular visits to the vet while the cat is being treated. This helps determine if the treatment is effective, and to determine if there had been side effects to the medication.
Being infected with heartworms, whether it be in cats or dogs, may be easily prevented. The owner must always make sure that his pets are properly taken care of, and are living in a healthy and safe environment. This includes regular visits to the vet and providing pets with nutritious meals, which is often supplemented by vitamins recommended by the vet. It also means cleaning their beds as often as required to make sure it is free from dangerous viruses and bacteria.
Keeping a pet healthy must always be a pet owner’s number one priority. It may take much of his time, effort, and money. However, like what has often been said, prevention is always better than cure.