Stow Kent Animal Hospital
4559 Kent Road Kent, OH 44240 330-673-0049

Portage Animal Clinic
4148 Ohio 43 Kent, OH 44240

Feline Heartworm: Fact or Fiction


Hi there, it’s Mickey, reporting in from the drive in movies! On cool weekend evenings my Mommy and Daddy like to take me with them to the movies so we can all spend more time together.

Today, however, Mommy almost didn’t let me come along because I was supposed to put on my Revolution today but I forgot. I put on my travel harness anyway and told her not to worry because it was too cold out for me to get anything and besides, I wasn’t going to go out of the car anyway.

Mommy turned me around and told me to “march yourself right back into the house, mister.” She said that half of the flea infestations she treats are in indoor only cats. She also told me that the rates of heartworm, which are transmitted by mosquito bites, are virtually the same between indoor-only cats and cats that also go outside. I dolike to hunt any of the bugs that get into the house; I guess I never considered they might be hunting metoo!

Mommy said there isn’t a good treatment for heartworm positive cats and that the best treatment they’ve come up with so far is long term steroid administration (which makes you very hungry, overweight, and puts you at higher risk for heart disease, and diabetes to name a few things) or having a cardiologist go into your veins with a special loop so they can try to grab the adult worms living in the vessels around your heart and drag them out of your system. She said that since every unprotected cat, dog, fox, and coyote within a one-mile radius of an infected dog, fox, or coyote is at an 80% risk for developing heartworms she wasn’t impressed by my plant to evade infection by staying in the car.

After Mommy told me all of that, I looked up symptoms of heartworm disease on the intranet and became immediately convinced that I had them! The most common signs of heartworm disease in cats are coughing, chronic vomiting, and sudden death.

Mommy said to quit talking to Dr. Google because he makes me paranoid. She said my dry seasonal cough which occurs more commonly in the evening, is a result of allergic asthma (whew!). She also said that the occasional vomiting I do is a result of the same irritable bowel disease that caused my recent bout of pancreatitis. She checked my pulse and said she was positive I didn’t have sudden death either!

I asked Mommy about taking a heartworm test anyway, just to be sure. She said that heartworm tests in cats are much less accurate than the yearly blood tests that she recommends for dogs. She said that since the current tests have a fairly high percentage of false negatives for cats, they don’t routinely advise them for cats the way they do for dogs.

I complained a little bit more but Mommy put my Revolution on anyway. After that we put on my harness and it was off to the movies!

Major Mickey Giles Midnight Albers-Brooks –Defender of the Basement, is the thirteen year old feline prodigy of Drs. Albers and Brooks. According to his bio he is the handsomest, smartest, and most perfect cat to ever live. You can see pictures of Mickey in all of his glory posted around the Portage Animal Clinic where he put them up so his Mommy could think about him all day while she is at work and he is at home and surveying the local bird population from his favorite window

For More Information:

Who’s Creeping In Your Backyard

stray-kitty-stow-kent-animal-hospital-blog-3Ticks found on a stray cat found in the woods Spring 2013

Spring is such a lovely time of year. The flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping, the bees are buzzing, and love is in the air. But lurking in the shadows is an eight-legged blood sucking vampire waiting to strike!

Ticks are on the prowl and they’re waiting for some unsuspecting animal or person to come strolling by. They are typically found in the tall grass or dangling from low-hanging branches waiting to latch onto a passerby. Once attached they literally sink their teeth in and let the blood flow. Most ticks will feed on blood for several days until they’re fat and happy and ready to lay thousands of eggs.

Northern Ohio tends to see two major waves of tick activity, primarily in the spring and the fall when the temperatures are mild and during the peak of wildlife activity. Many unfed ticks are smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. Ticks often go unnoticed on pets as they can easily hide under the hair coat until the become fully engorged.

The primary concern with ticks is the transmission of life-threatening diseases during their blood meal. Diseases currently found in Northern Ohio include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and ehrlichiosis, with the dreaded Lyme disease starting to appear along the Ohio-Pennsylvania border. Visit the following website to see which diseases are prevalent in your neighborhood:

If you find a tick attached to your pet, use a pair of tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and gently pull until the tick detaches. Once removed, contact your veterinarian for further guidance. Never burn the tick or place harsh chemicals (ie oil, Vaseline, light fluid, etc) on it as this forces them to burrow deeper into your pet. You may also inadvertently harm your pet during the process.

As with all parasites, prevention is the key. There are many tick preventatives on the market, work with your veterinarian to find a safe and effective product to keep your family safe.

Written By: Eric Brooks, DVM

stray-kitty-stow-kent-animal-hospital-blogThe stray kitty when it came in with the mats and the ticks
stray-kitty-stow-kent-animal-hospital-blog2All of the hair that was shaved off of her, the picture at the top of the blog with the ticks all came off of her too


Stow Kent Animal Hospital

Mon. – Thurs. 7am to 9:30pm
Fri. & Sat. 7am to 6pm
Sun. Closed
Call for emergency instruction
Sundays and after hours.

Portage Animal Clinic

Mon. – Thurs. 8am to 7pm
Fri. & Sat. 8am to 6pm
Sun. Closed
Call for emergency instruction
Sundays and after hours.