Heartworm Testing for Dogs
Many parasites such as heartworms can live inside your pets and greatly affect their wellbeing. As a pet owner your first option is always early detection and prevention. It is important to have your veterinarian perform testing to identify possible heartworms inside your pet companion. The test requires a small amount of blood from your pet, the blood is examined for the presence of heartworm proteins. At Bridgewater Veterinary Hospital and Wellness Centre we perform our heartworm testing on site and relay the results back to you from our lab.
What is heartworm disease in pets?
Heartworm disease is a serious and life threatening illness in pets. Foot-long worms called heartworms live in organs such as the heart, lungs and blood vessels. If left untreated the heartworms can increase in number and damage vital organs. These parasites can lead to lung disease and heart failure in your pups.
When should I get my dog tested for heartworms?
We recommend testing dogs annually for heartworms. The test can be carried out during the routine veterinary exam. Even when dogs are on heartworm prevention medication they still need to be tested yearly as they can still become infected.
What are signs of heartworms in my dog?
It is difficult to spot all the symptoms as many dogs rarely show symptoms in the early stages. As the disease progresses symptoms will develop, or if they have other health problems the signs may be easy to spot. Here are some signs to look out for in your canine friends:
- Persistent cough
- Decreased appetite
- Swollen abdomen
- Reluctance to exercise
- Heart failure
What can I do to prevent heartworm in my dog?
Heartworm medication is a great option for prevention. As fur parents you will need to follow a strict prevention program as any late or missed doses can leave your pet open to infection. Our veterinarians would be happy to discuss the types of medications and which one would be best for your pet.