Heartworm Testing

Heartworm testing detects harmful parasites that can wreak havoc on organs like the heart and lungs.

Heartworms are parasites that threaten the well-being of your pet. It is strongly advised to have your pet on preventative treatments as the disease can lead to heart failure, lung disease, organ damage and possible death. Heartworms are more commonly found in puppies and dogs but cats can also become infected.

What is heartworm disease in pets?

Heartworm disease is a serious illness in pets that can lead to fatality. The disease is usually contracted through mosquito bites. Worms live inside the mosquitoes for a short time and are passed off to pets where they mature and produce offspring. The worms can grow up to 1 ft. long and live in the heart, blood vessels and lungs. If left untreated heartworms will reproduce and damage vital organs. To get your pet tested for heartworms contact us at 905-727-3003.

What are signs of heartworms in my pet?

Signs of heartworms mostly develop when the infestation is advanced, for this reason regular testing is necessary. The signs can range from mild to life-threatening if left untreated. Typical signs of heartworms include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Reluctance to exercise
  • Persistent cough
  • Heart failure

How is heartworm disease diagnosed in pets?

To diagnose heartworms a veterinarian will run a blood test. The small amount of blood collected from your pet is examined for the presence of heartworm proteins. In addition to lab work our team may run tests to check for liver and kidney function, along with X-rays for the chest.

How can I prevent heartworms in my pet?

To prevent heartworms in your pet you should begin prevention treatment early. Our veterinarians will prescribe monthly medications which can be tablets or topical liquids. It is very important to follow a strict prevention plan as missed or late doses can leave your pet vulnerable to an infestation. Your pets should also be vaccinated against heartworms. Each shot lasts 6-12 months so they will need booster shots all throughout their life. The preventative treatments that your pets receive may also protect them from other parasites.

Return to Dog & Cat Services