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Answers from vets about your cat:

5 Cat Diseases Vets Don’t Think You Know, But Should

Reviewed by Dr. Bill Saxon DVM, DACVIM, DACVECC on Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Posted August 25, 2015 in Cat Diseases & Conditions A-Z

Cat on windowsill

Cats are pretty self sufficient and independent animals, except for when they want to curl up next to us for nice cuddle sessions—adorable. Still, cats often need our help when it comes to health and protection. What can we do, as cat parents, to ensure they’re living the happiest, healthiest, lives possible? First and foremost, routine veterinary visits are extremely important, especially since cats are experts at hiding signs when they’re sick.

Beyond vet visits, to help educate myself and any other curious cat parents out there, I asked 7 veterinarians, ”What are the 5 top cat conditions you would want pet parents to be aware of?" Here’s how they responded:

1. Heartworm disease
Feline heartworm disease is caused by a type of roundworm called Dirofilaria immitis and is transmitted by mosquitoes. While heartworm disease mostly affects dogs, many pet parents are unaware that it can also affect both indoor and outdoor cats. Clinical signs are often subtle, with some cats showing no signs at all. They will become more noticeable as the disease spreads, and may include:

In extreme cases it can even lead to death.

Unlike dogs, most cats are resistant to baby heartworms. This causes them to die before reaching adulthood. Adult worms damage blood vessels and airways in the lungs. This causes a condition called Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD).

Learn more about feline heartworm disease >>

Learn more about Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD >>

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Tori has more than 2 years of experience in the pet health industry and is junior editor of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.