Heartworm is a parasitic pulmonary artery disease due to Dirofilaria immitis.
Review of the Parasitic Cycle:
Mechanism of Disease Production:
|Dirofilaria immitis||Acanthocheilonema reconditum|
|Head end tapered||Head end parallel- sided|
|Tail mostly straight||Tail button hooked (not seen often)|
|Body mostly straight||Body mostly curved|
|Length 270-325u||Length 240-290u|
|Width 6.7-7.3u||Width 3.5-6.4u|
Goals of therapy:
Comments on Aspirin Therapy:While previously advocated either prior to adulticide therapy or concomitant with adulticide therapy to reduce the pulmonary artery endothelial and medial changes (so called pulmonary arteritis), aspirin is no longer recommended. It may even be contraindicated.
Comment: Massive thromboembolism occurs with killing adult worms; cats should be hospitalized and observed for 2 weeks post treatment.