Indoor Cats and Heartworm???

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Postby PetieMarie22 » March 12th, 2010, 11:28 am

I was surprised to get a note yesterday from my new vet, the one that is open better hours but likes to sell a lot of stuff. It was a reminder to get my two cats on heart worm medication. It actually said in the note that 55% of indoor cats will test positive for Heartworm. I was a little puzzeled. I have owned indoor cats for 8 years and I have never had them on Heartworm meds or been told by a vet to put them on it. Has anyone else heard of this or has indoor cats on these pills??
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Postby DeeNtheChillas » March 12th, 2010, 12:10 pm

I know HW testing is included in the FIV/FeLV testing at the clinic I work for (and where my pets go). Neither of my cats tested positive for it. :|
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Postby Jenn » March 12th, 2010, 12:12 pm

:| Aren't heartworms caused by mosquitoes? If they never go outside, then I don't see why there would be a need for testing, nor heartworm medication...
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Postby PetieMarie22 » March 12th, 2010, 1:03 pm

I just called my other vet, the one that I love but is only open when I'm at work. The girl said that she is not aware of the vet there putting any indoor only cats on Heartworm medication. She said she personally does not either for her own cats. Let me know if anyone has heard anything different. This makes me mad that this "new" vet would suggest that I put my cats on medication that they don't really need.
Heartworm is carried through mosquitoes, and my dog has been tested and when the mosquito season comes and she is outside, she is defiantly on the meds. I guess if an infected mosquito got in through the door and could actually penitrate my cats' layers of fur, they could get Heartworm. But how likely is that? I don't think 55%!
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Sunshine Honeysuckle Smith - DSH cat that lives under the couch
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Postby Malli » March 12th, 2010, 6:18 pm

Just a couple of slightly educated guesses...

-maybe it can be passed from mum kittens?
-maybe the thought is, if the kittens were not indoor before going to their forever homes, they could contract it then?
-maybe heartworm can be transmitted via fleas?

In any case, I'd think it would be unlikely that your cats would have it.

Someone mentioned a blood test, and that would pretty much solve the situation if you got a negative result.
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Postby BullyLady » March 13th, 2010, 12:41 am

Really? None of you have ever had a mosquito get in your house?? lol It's transmitted via mosquitos (And Malli, maybe mom to baby, not sure about that one), and indoor cats can get it from mosquitos that get inside!
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Postby Malli » March 13th, 2010, 4:08 am

"mum TO kittens" :doh:
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Postby call2arms » March 13th, 2010, 1:31 pm

Pretty sure it can't be transmitted by fleas, and for kittens: No. Heartworm larvae are transmitted from one animal to another only by the bite of a mosquito carrying the infective stage of the larvae. Occasionally, microfilariae circulating in the blood of a pregnant dog can cross the placenta and get into the blood of puppies in utero, but this has never been reported in cats. And even when this occurs in dogs, it is of no consequence, as the microfilariae do not develop further in the puppies. So, they die in the puppies within a year unless they are taken up in the bite of a mosquito.

Unless you live in a very endemic area for heartworm (anywhere where there are mosquitoes all year round), I don't see a reason to place a cat on preventatives... I guess you could test for it, to make sure. Franlky I've worked in 3 vet clinics and none of them really bothers with feline heartworm, but I live in Quebec so we have mosquitoes like 4-5 months a year.
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Postby amazincc » March 14th, 2010, 11:05 am

My vet seems to be VERY thorough, but she never once recommended or even mentioned putting my cats on heartworm preventatives. :|
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Postby TheRedQueen » March 14th, 2010, 11:21 am

I've never had mine on HW preventative...never had the vets suggest it even...in all of the years that I've had an inside cat(s), we've been through MANY different vets/clinics.
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Postby PetieMarie22 » March 15th, 2010, 1:46 pm

Thank you all for your input! I've come to the conclusion that it's not likely something I need to worry about buying for them.
Kathleen (and George)
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Sunshine Honeysuckle Smith - DSH cat that lives under the couch
Sasha Marie - Bombay Mix = DIVA
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