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Many veterinarians today often push for our cats to be on a monthly heartworm prevention like our canine companions as well. As much as we need to consider if the benefit is worth the risk of monthly chemical treatment for our dogs, we even more so need to consider the risks for our feline friends.
Unlike dogs, cats are actually not natural hosts for heartworms. This means, that in fact their bodies are far less susceptible to the infection in the first place, their immune systems have a very strong defense against the infection. This is similar to how a human is not at risk of many of the common cat and dog infections like parvo, FIV, FeLV; these infection simply can't proliferate in our body systems.
It has also been shown that if cats are ever infected with heartworms, the infestation itself pales in comparison to dogs, with only on average a handful of worms infecting the heart producing no clinical symptoms as a result.
From a holistic health professional perspective, it is my opinion that for most cats the risk of infection along with complication to health absolutely does not outweigh the risk of giving this chemical medication monthly as the medication side effects can lead to numerous health side effects including:
Depression/lethargy, vomiting, anorexia, diarrhea, mydriasis, ataxia staggering, convulsions and hypersalivation.
The above reactions plus weakness.
Vomiting, depression/lethargy, pruritus, urticaria, diarrhea, anorexia, skin congestion, ataxia, convulsions, hypersalivation and weakness.
Vomiting, loose stool or diarrhea with or without blood, anorexia, lethargy, salivation, tachypnea, and muscle tremors, puritis, urticaria, erythema, ataxia, fever. There have been some reports of death and seizures in dogs.
The very BEST prevention you can give to your cat is to not let your kitty outside during the active mosquito times, dusk and dawn, use a natural pet bug repellent every time outdoors like ReNewedPet Flea/Tick & Bug Repellent, and to keep their natural immune system strong by feeding a balanced, species appropriate raw or fresh cooked diet, giving a whole foods multivitamin like Nupro brand, and attending to their overall emotional wellness, stress reduction.
When their immune system is strong it will do its job and naturally kill off heartworm infection as well as all other viruses, bacteria, fungus, and parasites like it is designed to do!
Keep those pet's healthy & happy everyone!
April Arguin A.S., C.P.N., M.P.H.