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Heartworm Testing for Pets

Routine testing of a blood sample allows us to detect and treat early signs of heartworm infections.

Heartworm testing is the only way to determine if your cat or dog is infected with heartworms. Heartworms tend to multiply quickly once they mate, in which one worm can quickly turn into tens of worms. Even if you don’t suspect that your cat or dog has an infection, routine testing can support early diagnosis if they aren’t symptomatic.

What are heartworms?

Heartworms are microscopic parasites that can cause harm to your dog or cat’s internal organs and systems. Heartworms tend to favour dogs over cats since they are natural hosts, though feline infections are still possible. Adult heartworms can live inside your cat or dog’s heart, lungs, and blood vessels, affecting their ability to effectively function. Particularly for dogs, they should be tested for heartworms at least once per year. Even if your dog is taking their parasite prevention as directed, testing ensures it’s effectively safeguarding against an infection.

Do heartworms affect dogs and cats in the same way?

In dogs, heartworm infections can progress into heartworm disease. Depending on your dog, some could have symptoms early on, while others don’t. The more the infection progresses, the more likely it is that their worm count will increase. For cats, the signs of heartworm disease could vary in severity. If you notice any of the following signs in your dog or cat, it’s crucial to contact us at 905-571-3700. Common symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite

Is heartworm disease curable? 

In most cases, heartworm disease can be effectively treated. However, taking steps to prevent it gives your dog or cat a fighting chance against contracting the disease. We can recommend a monthly preventive that will give your dog or cat protection against heartworms. The most important thing is to ensure they take it at the same time each month, limiting the possibility of a gap in protection and potential infection.

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