While the risk of infections in cats varies from one region of the country to another and even from one community to another, one fact remains: heartworm disease is a threat to unprotected cats in every state except Alaska. Unprotected dogs, foxes, coyotes, and wolves act as reservoirs, or sources, for the spread of this serious disease. The relocation of pets, as with humanitarian efforts following natural disasters, can introduce heartworm disease to nonendemic parts of the country.
Unprotected pets traveling with owners to high incidence areas will be at risk. Even indoor cats are at risk of infection because mosquitoes are often found inside homes. Since many factors can influence the spread of heartworm disease, the best approach is prevention. Various heartworm preventatives are available including monthly oral and topical formulations. It is the responsibility of the pet owner to faithfully maintain the preventive program recommended by their veterinarian. The best way to eliminate the risk of heartworm infection in your cat is to institute a year-round prevention program.