Cat Heartworm Medication Options

Cat heartworm medication is used to treat and prevent heartworm infections in pets. Although there are several commercial heartworm medications for dogs and cats, heartworm medicines for dogs should never be used on cats. It's necessary to attain a correct diagnosis of feline heartworm infection before administering any medication or treatment to pets.

Cats contract heartworms from mosquitoes that carry heartworm infection from dogs and pass it on to other pets through mosquito bites. Regions with subtropical climates are more conducive to heartworm infections.

Heartworms are parasites that live in and around the cat's heart or pulmonary arteries. Adult heartworms are more likely to exist in cats with weakened immune systems. The diagnosis of cat heartworms is not easy and blood tests cannot be solely relied upon. Radiographs and ultrasound are necessary to diagnose feline heartworm disease. Since there is no established cure for adult heartworm infections in cats, it's best to consider preventive treatments to keep pets healthy.

Commercially Available HeartWorm Medications

  • Revolution for cats
  • Interceptor for cats
  • Cat Heartgard chewables
  • Advantage Multi for cats

Treatment of Cat Heartworms

The treatment given to cats diagnosed with heartworms, aims to reduce severe damage to the feline respiratory tract. Medication includes anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids. Along with medication the infection has to be monitored with periodic radiographs to check for disease progression.

Preventive heartworm medication does not cure or treat adult heartworms. Preventive drugs may also cause complications in cats diagnosed with adult heartworms or microfilaria infection. Adulticides are specific drugs used to kill adult heartworms. The medication has to be given in appropriate doses to prevent killing several heartworms at once and causing lung or heart problems.

Caparsolate is an adulticide that's administered intravenously in dogs to kill adult heartworms. Although certain drugs that cure canine heartworms are being used to treat feline heartworms, the treatment options are decided only after considering the severity of heartworm disease. In certain cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to remove multiple adult heartworms.

Heartworm Preventive Medication

Preventive medication is available as topical solutions and chewable tablets. Topical solutions contain active ingredients like imidacloprid that disrupts nerve transmission and results in death of the parasites. Preventive medication should be administered as per package instructions. Overdose of medication can be toxic to pets and hence it's necessary to contact the vet or pharmacist if necessary. Heartworm preventive medicines may not be suitable to all pets and it's important to conduct a vet check and an antibody test before starting any medication.

Infection Prevention

Heartworm infections spread easily in regions infested with mosquitoes. Adequate mosquito control measures should be followed to prevent pet exposure to heartworm larvae. Since re-infection with heartworm larvae is also common, monthly preventives are ideal as they provide year long protection from heartworm disease. It should also be noted that preventive tablets only provide protection for the 30 days preceding the dosage. However, if the medication is administered without missing a dose, the formation of adult heartworms will stop eventually.

Heartworms are parasites that cause severe damage to pets. Pet owners should watch for unusual behavior or symptoms of heartworms in cats, and seek prompt medical help.