We can all agree that the heart is one of the most important organs in the body. It's the same for cherished animals! Regular heartworm testing should therefore be at the top of your to-do list as heartworms can cause fatal health issues if not treated early enough. To learn more about heartworm, please give us a call at 416-444-7387.
How does my pet get infected with heartworm?
Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes, which we all know can slip through our doors and easily trespass into our houses! One single bite from an infected mosquito will instantly transmit the parasite to your pet. The larvae then develop within the skin and enter the bloodstream. This can cause severe and sometimes fatal damage to the heart, lungs, and blood vessels.
How do I know if my pet has heartworm?
Sometimes it can take a while for your pet to start displaying symptoms of infection. However, if you notice any of the following, then your pet may be infected with heartworm:
- Swollen belly
- Consistent coughing
- Fatigue and weight loss
- Drastic weight loss
How does heartworm testing work?
To test for heartworm, we will take a blood sample and perform an antigen test to detect specific heartworm proteins (antigens). These antigens are released by adult female heartworms into the dog's bloodstream. Another test detects microfilariae (immature heartworms). However, the earliest microfilariae can be detected in a dog's bloodstream is about 6 months after the initial infection.