Heartworms are harmful parasites that can create long-lasting health issues for your pet. The only way to detect them is through bloodwork, which helps us determine treatment for your pet. If you have questions about heartworm testing for your pet, please contact us at 613.634.7474.
What is heartworm disease?
Heartworm disease can create complications in your pet’s heart and lungs, often causing damage to their organs. The disease can also be fatal if not detected early enough. If your pet is bitten by an infected mosquito, heartworms enter your pet’s body. It takes around 6 months for the larvae to develop into adult heartworms, growing up to 12 inches. Heartworms often multiply, living for up to 7 years and with an average of 15 worms living in your pet at a time. Though dogs are the preferred host of heartworms, cats can still get the disease.
Why should my pet be tested for heartworm?
Heartworm testing is the only way to determine if your pet has heartworms. If your pet is about to start a new heartworm prevention medication or is switching to another, taking it while infected could cause health issues. Also, if your pet misses a dose, testing helps us check if they were infected during the window of time they weren’t protected. Though your pet might seem healthy, heartworms could be causing internal damage. Depending on risk factors, your pet might need to be tested more regularly but yearly tests are recommended.
When should my pet be tested?
In addition to yearly tests, you should book an appointment for your pet to get tested if you notice any of these symptoms:
- Consistent cough
- Difficulty breathing
- Reluctance to do to usual activities