Do you give your indoor only cat(s) heartworm medication? How about all the other annual vaccines?
My old cat (20 yrs) seldom goes outdoors anymore. I use the monthly spot-on revolution on her to prevent heartworms and fleas. She's up to date on all her annual vaccines.
these days, most 'annual' vaccines are recommended every 3 or more years for most older cats, and possibly not at all for very old cats (unless they are living in a high risk situation- LOTs of other cats about that come and go from inside to out).
As for heartworm, most indoor cats really don't need it, but if you live in a heartworm endemic area, and there are mosquitoes found in your house ever, I would recommend continue it all the warmer months of the year. I live in an area where heartworm is extremely rare, and I have yet to see one in a cat yet (southern California).
Is it more prevalent recently? I've never given any of my cats heart worm preventive in 35 years and have never had a problem in spite of living in MN, the mosquito capitol of the US. I often wonder which recommendations are driven a great deal by the motivation to generate more revenue vs what is actually needed.
I doubt that vets make much of a profit on vaccinations. I used to vaccinate all my animals (cats, dogs, horses) myself, and while it was somewhat less expensive, it wasn't a huge savings. One of the reasons I vaccinated myself was to give them additional vaccines that my vets did not recommend or carry, so I doubt that vaccines are a bonanza of profit for the veterinary community.
My vets recommend giving many of what used to be annual innoculations every 3 yrs now, but at my request they give them to my pets annually.
Here in New England, I am in the hot bed zone for heartworm disease (as well as Lyme and other tick born diseases) so I keep my cat and dogs on HW preventative year round. I guess if you are in an area with a low incidence of HW, your vet might not recommend the preventative for an indoor cat. However it only takes a single mosquito to get into the house, and I prefer to err on the side of caution.
In answer to your question about prevalence, I don't know much about HW disease in Minnesota or other areas in the country, but here it has spread like wildfire up the east coast. It is used to be primarily in the southern states but now is becoming epidemic here in the northeast. Local vets used to just recommend HW preventative from Oct-April up until a couple decades ago, but now the recommendation is for year round protection. I guess the best thing would be to ask your vet what he/she recommends for your cat.
This post was edited by spedigrees on Fri, May 3, 13 at 15:01
spedigrees - thanks for your perspective. It may be that it has become more prevalent - kind of like Lyme disease has become more prevalent for humans. When I grew up we all ran around in the woods and there were plenty of ticks and I never heard of Lyme disease. Now I won't even go in the woods during tick season and even after just being outside around the house I'm constantly inspecting for ticks.
I will talk to my vet in more detail about it. They are the ones who sent me a marketing email that included info about it.
This post was edited by gibby3000 on Sat, May 4, 13 at 12:18