Heartworm Testing for Pets

Early detection of heartworm is key to ensuring your pet's health.

Heartworm testing is the only accurate way to diagnose your pet with a heartworm infection. Heartworms are infectious parasites that can create a range of health complications for your pet. Routine testing allows us to determine your pet's parasite status and act quickly to treat an infection if necessary.

Why does my pet need testing if they don't have symptoms?

Pet owners often ask why we advise their pets to have annual, routine parasite screening if they have no symptoms. We commonly hear statements like, "But my dog doesn't have diarrhea," "They don't ever play with other dogs," or "My cat doesn't go that far and just stays in our yard." The truth is, however, that none of these factors have to be present for a pet to become infected with intestinal parasites like heartworms. Our 4DX blood test is the only way to rule out heartworm infections. We recommend yearly testing because heartworm disease is usually only detected after it has progressed and has done irreversible damage. Even if you are diligent about applying monthly prevention, testing is essential. To learn more about heartworm testing, please contact us at (416) 231-9293.

What risk do heartworms pose to my pet?

Heartworms cause heartworm disease, which is a serious and potentially fatal condition. It happens when heartworms live in the heart and the pulmonary arteries of an infected pet. The infection is transmitted through mosquito bites, with mosquitoes readily picking up the larval heartworms from infected animals like coyotes and carrying them to new ones. Untreated coyotes are becoming more urban, increasing the risk of infection for pets. Climate changes have also extended mosquito season, meaning they're more active much earlier than they used to be and are around a lot later than October.

Can heartworm disease be treated?

Treatment for heartworm disease is available, but it is costly and can be physically taxing for your pet. By using a month of preventative topical treatment, your pet won't need expensive and uncomfortable treatments. Every spring, we often test pets for heartworm exposure and prescribe a monthly preventative keep your pet protected from May to the end of October.

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