Heartworm testing is the only way to detect heartworms living inside your pet. Heartworms can cause various health issues, including heartworm disease, which is fatal. Infections can range from one to hundreds of heartworms, which is why early detection can significantly increase our ability to manage and treat them. While heartworms aren't common in the Lower Mainland, we offer testing and treatment plans for this parasite.
How do heartworms infect pets?
Heartworms are transmitted through mosquito bites. When a mosquito bites an infected animal before biting your pet, they can pass on heartworms. Once heartworms enter your pet, it takes them up to 6 months to complete their life cycle. Adult heartworms can mate, multiplying the number of heartworms inside your pet. Based on your pet’s worm count, their infection could be more severe. Testing allows us to detect heartworm infections in their early stages, increasing treatment effectiveness. To learn more about heartworm testing, please contact us at 604-427-2744.
How is my pet tested for heartworm?
Once we take a blood sample, we can test your pet for heartworms. The test detects heartworm proteins. Both cats and dogs can be tested for heartworms, though dogs tend to be the ideal host. Pets should be tested before they start a new preventative medication, if they’ve missed a dosage, or if you suspect they have an infection. Even if your pet is taking a monthly preventative, we recommend yearly testing to ensure the medication is effective. Especially in the early stages of infection, some pets don’t have any apparent symptoms, so testing is the best way to detect it. Some symptoms of heartworm disease include:
- Persistent cough
- Weight loss
- Difficulty breathing
- Bulging ribs