'Tis The Hearthworm Season (II).
By Terry Hobbs.
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|If a mosquito bites the dog during this time, the mosquito will pick up some of the larvae. The larvae will pass through the next stage of their development in the mosquito. At this point the mosquito can infect another animal. If the mosquito bites a dog or a cat, the larvae get into the animal's skin, continue to develop, and migrate to the bloodstream, where they go to the heart and live as adult worms. This animal now has heartworm disease.
The heartworms can cause allergic reactions, inflammation, and fluid buildup in the lungs. Often, the most common symptoms in cats are coughing and vomiting.
Sometimes an infected cat shows no symptoms at all. Unfortunately, the only sign may be sudden death of a cat that appeared normal and healthy just a couple of hours earlier. This severe reaction occurs when a worm dies. But sometimes, the worm or worms will die inside the cat and the cat will recover with no problems. It is impossible to tell in advance how a given cat will react to a heartworm infection.
Because one of the risks of heartworm disease is sudden death, your veterinarian may recommend that your cat be placed on preventative medicine. One such product is Heartgard for Cats (r). This is a pill that is given to the cat once a month beginning one month before mosquito season and continuing until one month after mosquito season.
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