Most people are familiar with heartworm disease in dogs. It is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes and can be treated over the course of a few months. Unlike regular worms that move through pet’s intestines, heartworms live exclusively in the heart and can harm the respiratory system. Although we hear all sorts of rumors every day, heartworm disease can be found in all 50 states, and the American Heartworm Society recommends every pet owner should provide monthly heartworm prevention for their pet’s entire life.
In dogs, heartworm disease can be treated, but there is no treatment for cats.
Heartworm disease in cats is rare. Because cats are atypical hosts, some infections can resolve on their own, however, they can leave a cat with respiratory system damage called H.A.R.D. (Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease). Heartworm disease can often go undiagnosed without testing, which is why Pet Placement Center always triple combo tests (FIV/FeLV/Heartworm) our cats. There are other tests that are needed to completely diagnose this infection, which includes a physical exam, an X-ray, blood work, and possibly an ultrasound.
To make sure we understand Hoagie's situation to the fullest, we took him in last week for his exam to see where we stand and how serious his condition is. We're happy to report that he came back with the best news we could expect. While he did test positive with the antigen test, he tested negative for the antibody test.
What this means is that he has at least one live female heartworm living in the heart, but because the antibody test was negative, he does not have any larvae. Hoagie will be required to stay on Revolution (flea & heartworm prevention) to prevent more heartworms from developing and prevent the larval stage from living in the blood.
Since he is in good health (relatively), and is not showing any symptoms, it’s likely he will have several more good years ahead of him. He will need to be monitored closely and kept indoors to extend his life as long as possible. Thankfully, he has no problem getting cozy in his beds and loves getting pets from all the staff members throughout the day.
It's sad to think that his long life has been shortened down because of this disease, but we will take this as an important lesson in life, and continue to do the best we can for those who can't help themselves.
If you are reading this and would like to show Hoagie some support, we would really appreciate it if you could donate to our Special Needs cause. Our Special Needs Fund was established for pets like Hoagie who are perfect no matter what. Right now Hoagie is not our only Special Needs pet, and any little bit can help with all of our special pets. Alongside Hoagie, we also have 4 other Special Needs cases who could use your help.
Penny is an 8-year-old Coonhound who was recently returned after being adopted as a puppy from our facility. She is overweight for her breed and is now suffering from hip and joint issues, as well as arthritis in the knees.
Oscar is a 10-year-old Chihuahua mix who was recently returned after the family moved and could not take him with them. He has issues with anxiety and trust and is currently on taking CBD to help with his stress. He's bonded well with our employees but is not fond of strangers or other pets.
Leo and Bianca are 5-year-old Boxer mix siblings. They were also recently returned after the previous family could no longer care for them. They are also overweight and have complications with hip and joint issues.
Lastly, Bo is a 10-year-old Boxer mix senior who was recently returned. We are unsure why as he was brought to a different facility and we were notified by his microchip. He appears to have some serious skin issues due to allergies and we are currently working with him on a special diet of fish and grain-free food to help. He also gets a Cytopoint injection once-a-month to help with his allergies.
We love all of our Special Needs pets dearly and hope to find the perfect forever home for them to live out the rest of their best years with a family who loves them dearly. If you would like to contribute to our Special Needs Fund to help Hoagie and the rest of our gang, please follow this link here: https://petplacementcenter.charityproud.org/Donate/MiniCampaign/6281
Keep an eye on Hoagie's Instagram page for more new photos and details about his condition. https://www.instagram.com/hoagie.rolls/ We are also accepting applications for him. If you have any questions about Hoagie or about heartworm disease, please feel free to message us or call anytime.