Heartworm testing for Pets
Heartworms are parasites that live within the hearts of your loyal companions. They are more common in dogs, but can still be found in cats. Heartworm infestations can lead to serious health problems. One of the main reasons why heartworms are dangerous is because they are often undetected until they have greatly multiplied inside your pet. Adult parasites can grow up to a foot long, reach major blood vessels and cause blood clots. Heartworms can lead to lung disease, heart failure and death, which is why our veterinarians recommend regular testing and vaccinations to prevent infestations.
How can I tell if my pet has heartworms?
It is difficult to spot symptoms as pets rarely show signs in the early stages. Your best bet is to bring your pet to a veterinarian. Heartworms can only be detected through blood testing. There are signs that could indicate an infestation, but you should have a professional diagnose your pet. If your pet is experiencing fatigue, difficulty breathing, huge weight loss, fainting, decrease in appetite and persistent dry coughing, reach out to your veterinarian immediately. Call us at 204.452.9010.
How is my pet tested for heartworms?
A blood sample is collected from your pet. The blood is then examined for the presence of heartworm proteins. Our team may also perform X-rays for the chest and check heart function. If heartworms are present in your pet, they may affect these important organs.
My pet is on heartworm prevention medication, do they still need to be tested?
Absolutely! Your pets can be infected even when they are on preventive medication. Any late or missed doses while can make your pet susceptible to heartworms, hence we recommend regular testing.
I want to protect my pet from heartworms, how do I do that?
To protect your pet from heartworms you should begin preventative treatment early. Our veterinarians may prescribe medications in the form of tablets or topical liquids. Your pet should also be vaccinated for heartworms every 6-12 months.