Heartworm Testing for Pets

Using medication to prevent heartworms that affect your pet's heart, lungs, and blood vessels.

Heartworms are parasites that are common in dogs. Cats will also get them occasionally. This infestation can be deadly for dogs because they are the perfect host. The worms can permanently damage the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. To make matters worse, your dog could be infected for several months or longer before they begin to show any symptoms. We know that heartworm disease can be progressive so our team offers regular testing and preventatives to keep dogs protected.

How do pets get heartworm disease?

Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes. They carry worms with them which are passed on to cats and dogs when they bite them. The worms will mature and reproduce inside your pet's body. They can survive for years inside your pet and can grow up to 12 inches long. The worms can go undetected for a long period until they begin to cause organ malfunction. Heartworms cannot be spread from one dog to another.

How are heartworms detected?

Some symptoms are visible to the naked eye, but only an antigen test can provide confirmation. Heartworm proteins can get to the bloodstream which is then picked up during a blood test. If your pet has the following symptoms, please do not hesitate to schedule diagnostic testing:

  • Swollen/bloated belly
  • Dry persistent cough
  • Fatigue
  • Fainting
  • Loss of appetite

To get your pet tested for heartworms, please feel free to call us at 403-932-5875.

What is heartworm prevention?

This refers to the various methods used to protect dogs from an infection. Medication can be given as an injection, topical cream, or oral tablets. These are taken on a regular basis as prescribed by the veterinarian. It is better to prevent the worms as treatment can be complex and expensive. We will provide injections to flush out the worms, however, in severe cases, the worms may have to be surgically removed.

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