As with most diseases there are signs and symptoms that let us know something is wrong with our pet. It is important to keep an eye on your pet and note changes in health, and you can even take it one step further by getting them tested!
Heartworm disease can be detected in dogs with a simple blood test. What’s even better? Our blood tests also look out for tick-borne diseases such as Lyme, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis. So, how does it work? We take a sample of your dog’s blood and send it to our lab for testing. The lab is looking for the presence of heartworm protein to identify whether or not your dog is heartworm positive. Test results usually come back within a week and if we notice a positive result or any abnormalities we will notify you by phone right away. If your pet’s test comes back negative, you will be notified by email or mail.
Because heartworm disease progresses over time, the earlier you can catch it the better the chances are for your pet recovering. If your pet does test positive, we will discuss the best next steps for you and your dog and always recommend reaching out to a veterinarian immediately.
Before starting or receiving additional prescription heartworm medication it is required that your dog passes a heartworm test. This is a requirement of any veterinarian or pet hospital. The reason for this is because if you accidentally forgot to give your pet a dose, or you gave the dose a little late, there is a chance that your pet could have been bitten by an infected mosquito, starting the larvae migration process to your pet’s heart. It’s also always good to have the peace of mind that your dog is heartworm free for another year, provided you are consistently giving them heartworm medication on a monthly basis.
If you have missed a few doses of your pet’s heartworm prevention medication contact your veterinarian for advice on what to do next. They may suggest that you get another blood test before starting your pet on medication again.
At this time we do not test cats for heartworm disease, but keep an eye out for any signs or symptoms. It is much less common for a cat to contract heartworm disease, but there are still ways to keep them protected.
Our veterinarians will be happy to answer any questions you have about heartworm disease and how to prevent it during your visit to a clinic. If you have questions, feel free to visit our staff at a Community Clinic near you or contact us.