Imagine a cherished loved one.  Someone that brings you joy when you see their face.  Who sits with you when you are feeling down.  Who brightens your day just by being present.

Now imagine driving home from work one day knowing you will see your loved one when you arrive.  Dreaming of the pleasant simple evening you are planning in their company.  You’ve been looking forward to it all day.  A smile lights your face as you park your car.  Approaching the house you fumble with your keys, unlock the door, and step inside.

As you enter, you call out because your loved one did not greet you at the door.  You get no reply.  You wander from room to room looking, calling their name.  The house is quiet.

You finally enter your own bedroom to find your loved one laying on the floor, not moving.  Rushing over, you call out looking for a response – nothing.  You check for breathing – again, nothing.

You grab your phone to call emergency.  Once the emergency team arrives.  They assess your loved one, but find no pulse.  Then they get no response to resuscitation.  Even the doctors at the hospital get no response.

Your cherished loved one is gone.  And there is no bringing them back.

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This scenario might seem fantastical to the average American, to have a loved one perish so suddenly and without warning.  However, this type of scene occurs once every 30 seconds in the United States, and it is caused by a disease that the CDC does nothing to combat.

This disease can and does strike without warning.  In fact, sudden unexpected death is the third most common “symptom” for this particular disease.  This disease has been linked to asthma and lung disease at all ages.  And it is easily transmitted by mosquitos exactly like Zika or the West Nile Virus.

Furthermore, this disease is 100% preventable with a medicine used a regular basis.  This is a medicine that can save lives.  This drug is easy to administer, safe enough for even an 8-week-old baby, has little to no reported side effects, and costs less than $300 per year.  So why do less than 13% of people bother to give the medicine?

The Silent Killer

This disease is called “Feline Heartworm Disease” and it claims the lives of a million plus cats per year in the United States.

When cats are exposed to mosquitos, the bug injects a microscopic baby heartworm into the cat.  Because heartworms are designed by nature to infect dogs, the worm gets confused in the cat’s body and can travel into unexpected areas (not just the heart).  The most affected organ in cats are the lungs, where the worm causes severe inflammation and then symptoms very similar to asthma.  The feline finds it hard to breathe to obtain oxygen.  Often these cats show very little to no symptoms of the disease (subtle coughing, or “signs of hairballs” are sometimes reported by owners), until they experience a potentially fatal inability to breathe – unfortunately succumbing to the disease and perishing unexpectedly.

Some who are reading this article now probably felt relief to know this disease does not affect humans, but I would point out that it does, in fact, affect humans, and severely at that.  Studies show that 50% of humans experience clinical depression within the weeks following the death of a pet – with children and the elderly most at risk.  Ask yourself how many humans in your life give love and affection to one or more cats?  Your spouse?  Child?  An elderly parent or grandparent?  Now ask yourself how that person would feel to walk in on your cherished pet, deceased on the floor without warning or explanation?  How will you feel explaining to that person that their cherished pet could have been saved if only the disease was prevented to begin with?

Feline Heartworm Disease Prevention

In the US market today there are a whole myriad of options to achieve heartworm prevention.  Monthly oral medications such as Heartgard or Interceptor are flavored, and some cats will voluntarily eat them.  Easier still, there are the topical options such as Revolution Plus, Advantage Multi, or Bravecto Plus are  simply applied to the skin at the base of your pet’s neck (where he/she cannot lick it away).  These topical options also help prevent other pests such as fleas and ticks (both of which can carry deadly diseases for humans too!).  Be careful to use a topical medication that actually prevents heartworms – not just the fleas!  It matters not which brand feline heartworm disease prevention product that you choose, but it is essential that you use something EVERY SINGLE month!

So, will you do your part today to prevent Feline Heartworm Disease?  Doesn’t your cherished loved one deserve to know you care about their cherished pet too? Book an appointment at THRIVE to discuss which product is best for your feline friend so that they can be there to greet you when you come home for many years to come.