Heartworm Testing for Dogs
This serious and potentially fatal disease is contracted from mosquitoes that carry the heartworm larva, passing it to your pet when they bite, leaving heartworm larvae behind. The blood-borne parasite known as “Dirofilaria immitis” matures, multiplies and migrates into the heart and lungs resulting in severe lung disease, heart failure and other organ failures. The best treatment against heartworm is prevention! The cost and undesired outcome outweigh the compared cost to prevent this terrible disease. We recommend prevention to be given from June through November. Call us today at 613.622.1700 to schedule your pet’s next appointment.
If a dog has heartworms, what symptoms should I look for?
Symptoms of heartworm show in different ways and are sometimes not obvious at all. Some of the visible symptoms that you might see are a mild persistent cough, reduced exercising, fatigue, decreased appetite, weight loss and abdomen distension due to fluid.
How does a dog get heartworms?
Dogs get heartworms from mosquito bites. Mosquitos are the intermediate host of heartworm until they find their way into your pet, which then becomes their definitive host. This means that heartworms can become adults, mate and produce their offspring while living in your pet’s heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Mosquito bites are the only known way that dogs can get heartworm – they cannot get it from other infected dogs.
What are the treatment options for heartworms?
We recommend that your pet is tested yearly for heartworm disease. Testing is done at our clinic using a 4-in-1 test with same-day results. It not only looks for heartworm disease but also for Lyme disease and two other tick-transmitted illnesses. Regular heartworm testing is recommended even if your pet seems to be healthy – as symptoms of heartworm can go undetected for months at a time. Once heartworm has been identified, your veterinarian may recommend different treatments. For adult heartworms, an injection of a drug called Melarsomine dihydrochloride is applied on your pet’s back muscles. Other medications also come in topical form and are used to get rid of “baby” heartworm called microfilariae.
Why is the recovery for heartworm treatment so challenging?
First of all, heartworm treatment can be quite expensive. Multiple injections, doses, hospitalizations, tests and X-rays are required to ensure that heartworm has been completely eradicated. The medications used can also have harmful side-effects on your pet, including life-threatening blood clots. This is why prevention is so important with regards to this disease.