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Heartworm Testing

Heartworms are a type of parasite that can create serious problems for your furry friend. The disease is mostly seen in dogs, but can also cause respiratory problems in cats. Heartworms are extremely dangerous for your pet because they often go undetected until they have greatly multiplied. If left undiagnosed and untreated, heartworms can lead to blood clots, lung disease, heart failure and even death. To protect our cherished patients from becoming infected, we strongly encourage regular testing and preventative treatment.

How are heartworms detected in pets?

To detect heartworms in your loyal companions we must run blood tests. When your furry friends are bitten by mosquitoes, larvae are transmitted to their bodies where they develop into adult heartworms. The heartworms live inside the heart, lungs and blood vessels. If your pet is infected there will be heartworm proteins in their blood and their vital organs may be affected. Our veterinarians may also perform X-rays or ultrasounds to further detect the presence of heartworm. Once your pet is diagnosed with heartworms, we offer immediate treatment as the disease can be fatal.

What are signs of heartworms in pets?

The symptoms of heartworms worsen based on the amount of worms that infected your pet and how long they’ve been infected. This means that the signs of heartworms range from mild to life-threatening. With that being said, here are some signs that may indicate your pet should be tested for heartworms:

  • Constant dry coughing
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Fainting

    If you are concerned about any of these symptoms in your pet consult with a veterinarian ASAP. To schedule an appointment, give us a call at 403.637.3928.

    Why should my pet get tested for heartworms?

    We recommend testing your beloved pet for heartworms regularly so the disease can be caught early and treated. Each pet should be tested for heartworms once every year. Testing is generally recommended before your pet begins preventative treatments or if they live in areas where there is a high level of infection. Plus, even if they are on heartworm medication, they may still get infected if their doses were late or forgotten.