Although outdoor cats are at a greater risk of being infected with heartworm, both indoor and outdoor cats can become infected.

The average age is fours years – but cases have been reported from nine months to 17 years.

Cats usually have fewer and smaller worms than dogs and the life of the worm is shorter: two to three years verse five to seven in dogs. In addition the percentage of worms that develop into adult stage is 0-25% compared to dogs 40-90%.

Signs of Heartworm
It is very difficult to diagnosis infection by clinical signs alone. Many signs can be non-specific and can look like other diseases. “Signs associated the first stage of heartworm disease, when the heartworms enter a blood vessel and are carried to the pulmonary arteries, are often misdiagnosed as asthma or allergic bronchitis, when in fact they are actually due to a syndrome newly defined as Heartworm Associated R espiratory Disease (HARD).” (From the Heartworm Society)

Acute Signs:

  • collapse
  • dyspnea
  • Convulsions
  • diarrhea/vomiting
  • blindness
  • tachycardia
  • syncope
  • sudden death

Chronic Signs:

  • coughing
  • vomiting
  • dyspnea
  • lethargy
  • anorexia
  • weight loss
  • chylothorax

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