Heartworm Testing

Heartworms are parasites transmitted by mosquitoes. It is very important to detect them because a heartworm infestation can be fatal to your pet. Furthermore, an infected pet can be a vector in the transmission of this parasite. We offer a rapid in-house test that allows same-day results. Our team will recommend the best time for your pet’s heartworm test.

What heartworm symptoms should you look out for?

In the early stages of the disease, most pets show few symptoms or are asymptomatic. The longer the disease remains undiagnosed and untreated, the worse your pet’s symptoms may become. In the advanced stage, a pet may show symptoms of heart disease, such as coughing, exercise intolerance, loss of appetite and weight loss.

What are the treatment options for heartworms?

To fully understand heartworms, it is important to distinguish between prevention and treatment. A preventive is administered to your pet from June to November, either on a monthly basis or every 3 months, depending on the product chosen. Preventives that will eliminate immature forms of heartworms (microfilaria) include flavoured treats and topically applied products. However, a pet with adult heartworms will need a stronger treatment to kill them. Your veterinarian may refer you to an internal medicine specialist to treat your furry friend. This is a long and expensive treatment that requires several visits to the vet. Your pet will need to remain calm and avoid exercise during the treatment. All products used to prevent or treat heartworms require a veterinarian prescription.

Why are heartworms so difficult to treat?

Heartworms can infiltrate your pet’s heart, lungs and arteries causing long-term damage. The injectable drug (melarsomine) kills adult worms. The dead worms are then carried deeper into the smaller branches of the vessels that supply the lungs with blood. Exercise needs to be restricted because it increases blood flow to the lungs and can cause vascular blockages during the treatment. Watch out for symptoms of coughing, vomiting, diarrhea or respiratory distress. You should immediately notify your attending veterinarian if any of these symptoms occur during the treatment.