Heartworm disease is common in dogs, but there are cases where cats are also infected. Heartworms are foot-long parasites that occupy your pet’s heart, lungs, and blood vessels, creating health complications for your pet, including heartworm disease. If left untreated, the disease can be fatal. Routine testing allows us to detect and treat heartworm infections.
Do all pets have the same symptoms?
Often when dogs are in the early stages of the infection, they show little to no symptoms. However, as the infection progresses or the number of worms they’re infected with (worm count) increases, you could start noticing your dog is constantly coughing, easily tired, reluctant to do physical activity, eating less, or rapidly losing weight. For cats, symptoms often present as subtle or extreme vomiting, weight loss, coughing, and asthma-like attacks. Pets are tested for heartworms, regardless of if they’re showing symptoms of the disease. If they are, it is especially important to ensure your pet is tested immediately by contacting us at 905-690-0040.
How is heartworm testing administered?
Heartworm testing requires a small sample of your pet’s blood to conduct the test. Before dogs can start taking a heartworm preventive or switching to a new brand, they need to be tested for heartworms. Both puppies and dogs should be tested 6 months after they’ve started a new preventive and annually after that. If your pet tests positive for heartworms, don’t panic. Our team will take all the necessary steps to ensure your pet is successfully treated, this includes:
- Confirming heartworm disease
- Co-creating a treatment plan, including therapy options
- Limiting physical activity
- Re-testing after a few months