FAQS about Cats and Heartworms

Frequently Asked Questions about Cats and Heartworms

By Pellissippi Veterinary Hospital’s Official Cat Advocate Dr. Jennifer


Cute Kitten

Can my cat get heartworms?

Cats are susceptible to heartworms but they appear to be less susceptible than dogs.  In Tennessee the incidence of heartworms has been reported to be 15-20% for dogs but only 5-10% for cats.  Mosquitos are responsible for disease transmission and are a major problem in our region.

Are indoor cats protected from heartworms?

It is much more likely for cats that go outside to get heartworms, but indoor cats can get heartworms too.  One bite by an infected mosquito is all it takes for transmission.  Anytime the door or window opens, an infected mosquito could come inside putting your cat at risk.

What are the symptoms of heartworm disease in cats?

Many cats do not show symptoms of heartworm disease.  However, there are some signs that may indicate your cat has heartworm disease.  Many infected cats present with respiratory signs such as coughing, asthma-like attacks, wheezing, and even respiratory distress.

Is there a test for heartworm disease in cats?

There are blood tests available to check for heartworms in cats.  If you are concerned your cat may be infected, please contact us for an appointment with one of our doctors.

 Is there a treatment for cats with heartworm disease?

There is no cure for heartworm disease in cats.  The only treatment is targeted at controlling respiratory signs.  This disease may not be curable, but it is 100% preventable.

How can I protect my cat from heartworms?

Keeping your cat indoors will help lessen the risk of heartworm infection, but the only truly effective protection is using heartworm preventatives year-round.  At PVH we have multiple heartworm preventatives available to help keep your kitty happy and healthy.


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