Heartworm Testing for Pets
Heartworms are pesky parasites that can live for years in your pet’s heart and lungs. They are transported by mosquitos, who can deposit larvae with a single bite. If you’re not careful, your pet can be exposed to a new batch of heartworms every summer from an infected mosquito. Get your pet started on a heartworm prevention plan by booking an appointment with us at 250.591.4050.
How can I prevent my pet from getting heartworms?
Regular wellness checks and preventative heartworm medicine are the best ways to protect your pet. This is especially relevant for cats who cannot be cured of heartworms but can be placed on a monthly prevention plan. This medicine, applied topically or orally, attacks baby worms (microfilaria) before they mature.
How do you know if my pet has worms?
Lots of tests! We like to be thorough and we also like to accommodate your pet’s comfort levels. Depending on our veterinarian’s preferred course of action, your pet may undergo a series of X-rays, ultrasounds and blood tests. At our in house laboratory we can detect larvae from their blood samples and treat your pet accordingly.
What happens if my pet has heartworms?
In some cases, the severity of the heartworm infestation can lead to respiratory issues or death. However, if we are able to detect them early, there are ways to help your pet’s live comfortably.
Dogs: For dogs, there is a treatment plan that lasts about 6 months and may involve monthly injections. These routine medicinal injections will kill adult worms. In the meantime, your pet’s exercise should be reduced. If they’re too active, the worms will be pushed into their bloodstream and may get stuck there when they die. This could lead to blood clots. Keep your dog calm and resist urges to chase or play during their treatment.
Cats: Since cats are rare hosts and do not carry more than an average of six heartworms at a time, they are harder to diagnose. When heartworms are detected, the only treatment is preventative medicine to stop baby worms from aging and reproducing. We will monitor your pet’s condition and treat other medical conditions that may develop due to heartworms, such as heart and lung diseases. Cats can also be supported by surgically removing heartworms if their case is severe.