Heartworm Testing

Heartworm testing detects harmful parasites that can wreak havoc on organs like the heart and lungs.

Heartworms are deadly parasites that may infect your loyal companion. The disease is more common in dogs but cats can also be infected. After a mosquito bites your pet they leave larvae that grow into adult heartworms. These worms can grow up to a foot long and reach blood vessels resulting in blood clots. What makes heartworm disease so life threatening is it can go undetected until the worms have increased in your pet. Heartworm disease can lead to heart failure, lung disease and sometimes death which makes prevention and testing important.

What are signs of heartworms in my pet?

The symptoms of heartworm disease may vary based on how long the pet has been infected and how many worms are present. The signs may not show in the early stages of the infection which is why our veterinarians recommend frequent testing. Some signs that may indicate heartworm disease in your pet are:

  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Continuous dry coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Fainting

How is heartworm disease diagnosed in pets?

To diagnose heartworm disease in pets we test their blood. When a pet is infected traces of heartworm protein are found in the blood. Since these worms live inside the heart our team may perform X-rays to check the organ’s functionality.

How can I protect my pet from heartworms?

We encourage pet parents to get their pets started on prevention medication early. Pets should be vaccinated for heartworms every 6 to 12 months. If your pet becomes infected our team may prescribe medications in the form of topical liquids and tablets. Another way to protect your furry pal is to have them tested at least once every year. This can catch an infection early and reduce the effects and symptoms.

Return to Dog & Cat Services