Heartworm Testing for Pets

Heartworm testing is the only way to accurately diagnose your pet since heartworms are often undetectable. (Even if you’re examining your pet’s poop.) If your pet is due for testing, please contact us at 613-258-5745.

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How are heartworms spread?

When an infected mosquito bites your pet, the larvae are deposited into their body. Once the larvae enter their body, they migrate to the chambers in the heart vessels and lungs through the bloodstream. Heartworms impact blood flow throughout your pet’s body, not just in the infected areas. Infections are most common in the heart, lungs, kidney, and liver. We see the disease most commonly in dogs, but cats can also contract it.

Does my pet only need a test if they’re showing symptoms?

Heartworm disease often doesn’t show symptoms until the later stages, so relying on symptoms alone isn’t always a sign your pet is healthy. Your pet should get tested regularly. However, if your once active pet suddenly gets tired quickly or has shortness of breath, they could have heartworm disease. Other symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Decreased physical activity
  • Bulging ribs
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite

How is my pet tested for heartworms?

We take a small blood sample from your pet at least once a year to detect an active heartworm infection. We can process the test in our in-house lab, so you’ll know your pet’s results quicker. Without regular testing, heartworm disease is usually only detected after the disease has progressed. Heartworm disease is treatable, though the process is expensive and risky. The best way to prevent an infection is to ensure your pet takes a monthly preventive, which we can prescribe.

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