Porky and Buddy Pet Health – The Scoop on Cats and Heartworm

Dear Porky and Buddy,
My neighbor just told me that heartworm in cats is becoming a problem and that I should have all of my cats on a heartworm preventative. She made me feel sort of guilty, I can just barely afford the heartworm preventative for my dog, much less my cats? Is  this really necessary? I have never heart of a cat having heartworm around here.


Dear Sam,
We have nothing against busybody neighbors who get all involved in the welfare of every pet they see.

They provide a valuable service as sort of auxiliary pet police, and sometimes that’s a good thing.

BUT, before they start dispensing veterinary advice we wish they would consult with their own vets and get it right.

First let us remind everyone that heartworm preventative is VERY IMPORTANT for dogs in our area and it is time to talk to your vet about getting your dogs tested if they have not been on preventative in the past and when to start using the mediation this year.

Here at the Humane Society some of our foster dogs have heartworm when we take them in and it is a huge expense and worry for us as well as for their eventual adopters.

Yes, we know preventive medications are expensive, but it is critical basic care for your dog.

But for your cats, not so much.

It is true that cats in our area sometimes show signs of having been infected with heartworm, and so it is fine to use one of the heartworm preventatives on your cats if you want to take that precaution and can afford it.

But it is not as critically necessary as it is for dogs.

The difference is that heartworm affects different species differently and cats are relatively resistant to the severe infestations that can kill dogs.

You need to talk to your own vet for recommendations about what to do and for advice on recognizing the symptoms of heartworm infestations in cats if you suspect something is wrong.

But among all the things to potentially worry and fret about concerning your pets, heartworm in cats is probably not high on the list.

It is much more important for your cats that you keep up on their core vaccinations and annual checkups.

And that you buy them toys, of course, and then adopt a new cat for them to play with.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego, NY.

Phone (315) 207-1070.

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.oswegohumane.org

Because people and pets are good for each other!