Feline Heartworm Disease or FHD is rare, but can be life threatening. It is caused by parasites entering the bloodstream through the bite of an infected mosquito, and the parasites then migrate to the heart and pulmonary arteries where they mature.
All cats are at risk, but those with exposure to mosquitoes are at highest risk. Warm, humid climates are ideal condition for heartworms. And your cat does not have to go outside to be bitten by mosquitoes. In fact, studies indicate that indoor cats may be more likely to pick up an FHD infection.
Unfortunately, the symptoms of FHD in cats are vague and can differ markedly from the canine version. Researches believe cats with heartworms may be misdiagnosed with feline asthma, or may develop asthma as a consequence of FHD.
Aside from asthma, other signs include weight loss, weakness and collapse. At present there is no definitive test for FHS in cats, although blood tests may be helpful. A preventive treatment for heartworm disease is available from veterinarians.
Surprisingly, cats can suffer from acne. It is generally found under the chin and around the mouth. This was originally called Aby Chin because it was first diagnosed in the Abyssinian breed as it readily showed up on their white chins. Later it was learned that any cat can get acne.
It is a good idea to examine the chin area to see if you can see or feel slightly crusty bumps. These are easily seen on white or light colored cats and look like coffee grains. Wash the affected area with a mild soap, rinse thoroughly with warm water and dry, dry, dry.
Since acne thrives in damp places, you can help the drying process by rubbing cornstarch on light colored cats or fuller's earth on dark ones. Causes of acne may range from eating from plastic dishes to food becoming embedded in the chin.
Since cats continue to eat, the possibility of them having acne is ongoing, but a careful check on the chin and weekly washings can keep your cat pimple free. If there are any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge, contact your veterinarian.
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