Heartworm can be transferred with a single mosquito bite, posing serious risks for indoor and outdoor pets.
Carried in the blood, heartworm transmission can be as simple as a single bite from a mosquito having previously fed on another infected animal.
With our warm Australian climate, mosquitoes can plague us all year round. Known to breed in greater numbers around areas with stagnant water - from ponds and streams to yards and household plants - mosquitoes can also travel great distances when blown by strong winds.
While flyscreens can help limit the entry of mosquitoes into our homes, those persistant little pests invariably find a way inside, leaving indoor cats at risk.
Taking up to 6 months to mature into adults, and living up to 2-3 years within a cat, heartworms may cause very few symptoms until it's too late.
Currently there are no approved treatments for eliminating heartworm from infected cats, making prevention the best.
The best place to start is by visiting your local vet who can discuss prevention with you.
Bravecto Plus for Cats provides long-lasting protection against heartworm, fleas and paralysis ticks as well as treatment of roundworm, hookworm and ear mites.
Limiting mosquitoes around the house is an easy way to make life better for you and your pets. Remove stagnant water from pot plant dishes, make it routine to clean water bowls, and keep flyscreens closed on windows and doors as often as possible - particularly from dusk to dawn, when mosquito activity is highest.
Remember that your cat's immune system is it's main natural defence against disease. Providing a fun, playful home with less stress and more exercise, combined with optimal nutrition and Bravecto Plus for Cats is an easy way to make sure you're giving them the support they need.
While heartworm are typically found in dogs, they can make a home in cats and cause a lot of damage in the process. Spread with a single bite from a mosquito carrying blood with infective larvae, the transfer is simple yet devastatingly effective. These nasty invaders are often hard to spot until it's too late, and can result in life-threatening respiratory diseases even at an immature stage of development.
Click through all stages of the heartworm life cycle to learn more.
When a mosquito bites an infected host, any premature heartworm larvae (otherwise known as microfilaria) are taken on as part of the blood meal - leaving that satisfied mosquito as an infected carrier.
Once inside the mosquito, microfilaria mature into into stage 3 heartworm larvae ready to be transmitted.
The next time the infected mosquito feeds, matured heartworm larvae enter the bloodstream of a new host.
Once in the bloodstream, heartworm larvae migrate to the heart, lungs and surrounding blood vessels, maturing into heartworms that can grow up to 30 cm and live for up to two to three years.
With very few visible symptoms until they pose a real threat, heartworm can be hard to spot. Watch out for these tell-tale signs, and contact your local vet at the first sign of any symptom.
Effective preventative treatments are the best way to protect your cat. Heartworm larvae continue to grow inside the heart and lungs of your pet, leading to heart failure, lung disease and potential damage to other organs in the pet's body. To defend your cat against heartworm, make Bravecto Plus for Cats part of your routine.