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Old 05-05-2009, 08:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Flea and heartworm protection for indoor cats?

Some people have told me that my indoor cats don't need flea and heartworm protection, and some have told me that they still need it. I'm inclined to skip it since they're indoor only, at least for now. I'd really like to get one of the girls used to car rides, since she's so incredibly interested in what's going on outside, and maybe take her for walks, but if I do that I'm assuming she should get at least flea protection? These two are my first pets ever, adopted six months ago, so I'm totally uninformed about this part. If I should be using this stuff, is it pricey or relatively cheap? If it's expensive they'll stay exclusively inside, since I'm unemployed right now.
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flea and heartworm protection for indoor cats?

IMO, if you don't have a flea problem, why medicate for one? Same for heartworms, but if you do have the occasional mosquito...that would be a good enough reason for me to use heartworm protection.
In the early 90s I had to have my dog treated for heartworms. My vet came out to our house several days in a row to inject poison (arsenic?) to kill the heartworms. I had to keep my dog quiet and not exciteable (no extended fast heartbeats) and administer an antibiotic to help her as the worms died and traveled to her lungs to decompose. It was a scary thing to do because some dogs die from the treatment. After that, I learned about preventive measures and used a heartguard(?) product monthly so she wouldn't become re-infected.
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flea and heartworm protection for indoor cats?

Heartworm is much more easily prevented than treated... Adult heartworms can be fatal and treatment can be expensive. However, my understanding is that heartworm isn't as common in cats as it is dogs..
You can get products to kill fleas/intestinal worms if the cat has them but if they have heartworm, there's not a tablet that will kill it, it needs vet treatment..
It is spread by mosquitoes though so I guess it's just a matter of how worried you are about them getting it as to whether you think it's worth the extra expense every month.
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flea and heartworm protection for indoor cats?

It really depends on where you live. If you have a lot of mosquitoes, I would treat for heartworm, even on an indoor cat. I think the reason less cats have heartworm is because more are indoors than dogs but they are just as susceptible and much harder to treat.
Fleas I would be less inclined to worry about. I live in an area where we have massive fleas and do not treat my (indoor) cats unless I suspect they have them. I usually get bitten long before they show.
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flea and heartworm protection for indoor cats?

Our vet has recommended a topical heartworm preventative during mosquito season. Prior to that I was unaware that cats were affected by heartworm, but the vet said that they can get it as well, although its not as common and not generally as serious as dog heartworm. I think I'll be treating my cats this year since I've enclosed the patio & they'll be going outside a lot more. The mosquitoes we had last year were numerous and fierce.
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:57 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flea and heartworm protection for indoor cats?

Good stuff to know... We do have a lot of mosquitos here, and I'm all about preventative care with my girls. Is heartworm medication something I have to get from a vet, or do pet stores carry it, or what?
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Old 05-07-2009, 03:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flea and heartworm protection for indoor cats?

Heartworms are even more of a concern in my opinion, for cats than for dog because there is NO treatment available for heartworm disease in cats. Recent studies have shown that heartworm disease is cats is more prevelent than once believed. The cat is not the heartworms natural host, so cats tend to get fewer worms, but since a cats heart is smaller, it only takes a few worms to cause serious problems. Heartworm disease in cats usually presents as coughing, and may mimic asthma symptoms. Or the cat can have no symptoms and just fall over dead one day. Scary stuff.

I use revolution, its pricey, BUT, it protects against fleas and heartworms in one. If you are worried about cost, and if you are going to treat for anything, definitely treat for heartworms. They make a heartguard for cats, and I'm pretty sure there is now a generic (Iverheart?) thats even cheaper. If they get fleas, treat for fleas. But if they get heartworms, you have no recourse.
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