How Heartworm Prevention Keeps Your Cat Healthy
A key factor in safeguarding your cat’s health and avoiding disease is to ensure they receive regular vaccinations and wellness exams, as well as heartworm prevention. Heartworm infection has been spotted in each of the United States, making year-round protection incredibly vital – even during the wintertime when mosquitoes are still active!
The heartworm life cycle
Heartworms can affect any mammal. Once a mosquito has bitten an infected animal and ingested microfilariae or heartworm larvae (L1), the gastric juices of the mosquito stimulate them to molt into the L2 stage before migrating to their salivary glands and molting further into infective L3 larvae. When a mosquito takes its meal, the L3 larvae will swim beneath the cat’s skin. Through two stages during maturation, these larvae march towards their final destination—the heart of your beloved cat. Once they reach this point, they reach adulthood and begin to reproduce in the main pulmonary artery.
How heartworm prevention works
The mosquito undergoes several larval stages while inside its host; however, only two of these phases can be thwarted through heartworm prevention. Once the larvae reach either juvenile or adult form, preventives will not have an effect, necessitating a much harsher and more costly arsenic-based drug to aid in the eradication.
To adequately protect your cat, it is key to administer a monthly heartworm preventive. This could be an oral tablet or topical liquid that will eliminate any larvae before they reach the hardier adult phase. When these immature organisms can mature in as little as 51 days, regular prevention is absolutely vital for keeping your furry friend safe and sound! If you prefer not having to keep up with a monthly schedule, injections containing slow-release medication are also available every 6 or 12 months which effectively kills off any potential larval stages. By providing your cat with heartworm prevention, you can help them avoid the potentially fatal consequences of heartworm disease—even if it doesn’t stop mosquitoes from biting or larvae transmission.
This National Heartworm Awareness Month, make sure your cat’s heart is protected. Reach out to our team and find the right preventive measure that will keep your furry companion healthy and safe from disease.