Heartworm Testing for Pets
Heartworms are a type of parasite that can seriously harm your furry friends. Heartworms are more commonly found in dogs but cats can also get them and suffer from heartworm- associated respiratory disease (HARD). These parasites damage the heart, blood vessels and liver. The best way to protect your pets from heartworms is to use a prevention plan and regularly test them.
What is heartworm disease in pets?
Heartworm disease is transmitted through mosquito bites. The mosquitoes carry the worms for a short period then pass them on to pets where they mature and reproduce. The worms usually live in the heart, blood vessels and lungs which is why they are called heartworms.
What are signs that my pet has heartworms?
Depending on how severe the infection is the signs may range from mild to life threatening. Pets that haven’t been infected for a long time can go quite a while before they start to show symptoms. For this reason once you see the signs you need to get treatment ASAP. The following are possible signs of a heartworm infection:
- Swollen abdomen
- Persistent cough
- Loss of appetite
- Heart failure
- Reluctance to exercise
Some of these symptoms may require surgical intervention. If you are concerned about these signs in your pet, reach out to us immediately at 613.531.3334.
How are heartworms diagnosed in my pet?
Heartworms cannot be seen with the naked eye, even with symptoms a veterinarian will still perform testing to properly diagnose your pet. A blood test is conducted to confirm the presence of heartworms. If the infection is confirmed our veterinary team will provide appropriate treatment.
What is the best way to protect my pet from heartworms?
The best way to prevent heartworms is to begin preventative treatment early. To keep your pets safe we recommend administering monthly preventative medication. Work with your veterinarian to discuss if your pet’s heartworm medication protects them from other parasites.