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Can Get Heartworm, Too
By Laurie Rich
You may have recently picked up monthly heartworm prevention medicine for your dog, but is your cat protected as well?
The same heartworm that infects dogs can infect cats. Just like with dogs, transmission is by mosquito bite, which injects heartworm larvae into a host animal.
Heartworms are approximately six inches long, and live primarily in the heart and the large blood vessel carrying blood from the lungs to the heart. Adult male and female worms living in the heart produce thousands of microscopic baby worms which circulate throughout an animal's body.
If a mosquito bites an infected cat, it will ingest baby heartworms. When another animal is bitten by that same mosquito, that animal will become infected, too.
For many months after infection, there may be little or no apparent change in a cat. However, as the adult heartworms grow to a length of 6 inches or more, the cat's heart will become strained.
Usually, an infected cat shows no symptoms; but when seen, the symptoms resemble those of other common problems, including:
Unfortunately there is no safe treatment for heartworms in cats, so prevention is critical.
Medications (pills, liquids, and topical agents) are available from your vet, and will prevent heartworm infection. Most of these medications are administered just once a month at home. In addition to preventing heartworm disease, most of these medications also kill adult fleas and prevent their eggs from hatching; treat and control ear mites; and treat and control roundworms and hookworms. Preventive medicines include Revolution, Interceptor, and Heartgard.
Even indoor cats can be bitten by a mosquito. Talk to your vet about feline heartworm disease -- it's easy to prevent.
Note: Never use dog medications of any kind on your cat. Dog medications can deliver drug doses at life-threatening toxicities to your kitty.
Q. There's a cat I've been trying to catch for weeks and it won't go into the trap. What can I do?
A. This is a frustrating issue. You can't just make the cat go into the trap. The first step is to make sure all food sources are removed and the cat has not been fed for 24 to 48 hours. Then try various baits, such as mackerel, tuna, ocean fish flavored cat food, etc. If the cat still will not go into the trap, try locking the trap door into the open position (a clip or wire tie can be used to keep the door open) and then feed the cat as usual, but with the food inside the trap. Initially, place it close to the opening, and then move it farther and farther inside until the cat is going all the way into the trap to get to the food. When the cat is eating out of the trap regularly, remove the tie from the trap, set it as usual, and Pow!, you have a trapped cat!
You can find additional ideas from the following Web sites devoted to feral cat issues.
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