Q. My cat has been diagnosed with heartworms. He has asthma like attacks. What medication would be best for him? He is on doxycycline.

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A. Unfortunately there are no specific treatments that cure feline heartworm disease. Typically we try to control the symptoms, which are the coughing attacks and breathing problems you're seeing. Often steroids, such as prednisolone, are used for this. Doxycycline typically has no role in the treatment of HW disease in cats, like it does in dogs. If heart failure is present (which can be determined with chest x-rays) he may need specific heart drugs to treat that. And sometimes bronchodilating drugs like aminophylline are helpful as well.

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