Cardiology – General Practice & Preventative Medicine

GUIDELINES

Feline heartworm disease is a serious parasitic disease caused by a long, thin worm, Dirofilaria immitis, that lives in the blood vessels and heart of infected cats.

The disease is spread from dog to cat by mosquitoes. The mosquito bites a dog with heartworm infection, collects some of the microscopic heartworm offspring, and then after a couple of weeks, passes these on to another dog or to a cat. Inside the cat, the microscopic heartworm can grow into a parasite exceeding a foot in length. The life cycle is somewhat complicated. The important thing is to prevent worm development using safe and effective preventative drugs.

Heartworms are present (endemic) in most parts of the United States and in many parts of North America. Mosquitoes are the key – without them the disease cannot spread. The highest rates of infection are found in subtropical climates like those of the southeastern United States, the Gulf States and Hawaii. However, heartworms are also found throughout the central and eastern United States, particularly near oceans, lakes and rivers. When compared to dogs, cats are naturally resistant to heartworm disease (estimated at about one-fifth as likely to become seriously infected as dogs in the same region); however, heartworm disease in cats is often more severe than in dogs. The presence of even a single adult heartworm in a cat can result in very serious consequences.

Heartworm disease injures the lungs, the arteries within the lungs and the heart. Symptoms include tiring, coughing, vomiting, weight loss, difficult breathing and even sudden death. Heartworm infection in cats can be difficult to diagnose. Blood tests are available, but the results may sometimes be misleading.

Prevention of heartworm disease is simple. “Preventatives” kill microscopic larvae that are left behind by mosquitoes when they bite a cat. Please consult with your veterinarian for the preventative that is best for your cat.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Owners of all cats living in areas endemic for heartworms should discuss the pros and cons of preventative care with their veterinarian.

If dogs in the area receive heartworm prevention, it is likely that cats also may benefit from this protection. Do NOT use your canine heartworm medicine in your cat! The drug dosing is very different between species.

Speak to your veterinarian about the need for preventative therapy, administration guidelines and when to start and stop prevention treatments. Some recommend that before beginning heartworm prevention, any cat over 7 months of age should first have a heartworm blood test.

Dear Valued Clients

During these challenging times, there have been some unforeseen changes at The Big Easy Animal Hospital. I cannot express enough my sincere apology for any inconvenience you have experienced at The Big Easy during these times. As we strive to make the practice safe to protect everyone including you, your family, and our Big Easy team and their families, I’ve decided to make certain changes while we are under this pandemic. These changes will be temporary.

 

Monday through Friday:

Walk Ins start at 10:00am, check-in starts at 9:00am.There are a limited amount of patients we can accept. Our receptionists will be happy to assist you with options to help guide you and your pet(s).)

 

Starting Saturday, August 1st

Saturdays will be TECHNICIAN APPOINTMENTS only. These will include boosters, bloodwork, nail trims, certain diagnostics, etc. There will not be a veterinarian on site. While I understand these changes can be inconvenient, I have listed local veterinary clinics that we have contacted and are open to see walk-ins throughout the week and Saturdays as well. For life threatening emergencies that occur outside business hours, please contact the following 24-hour animal hospitals below.

Please, be safe and healthy.

Thank you all for your understanding. -Aileen Ruiz, DVM

 

24 Hour Emergency Care:

 

Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center

807 Camp Horne Road
Pittsburgh, PA
(412)366-3400

 

AVETS

4224 Northern Pike
Monroeville, PA
(412)373-4200


VCA Castle Shannon Animal Hospital

3610 Library Road
Pittsburgh, PA
(412)885-2500


Veterinarians Accepting Walk in Care:

Penn Animal Hospital

2205 Penn Avenue
(412)471-9855
WALK—IN’S—MONDAY THRU FRIDAY from 10:00 AM – 1:30 PM


North Boros Veterinary Hospital

2255 Babcock Blvd
(412)821-5600
WALK-IN’S—MONDAY THRU FRIDAY from 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM

 

 

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