Heartworms are dangerous parasites that can be fatal for your pet. The disease generally affects dogs but cats can also become infected. The disease is caused by mosquitoes biting your pet, passing on larvae that grow and reproduce inside your pet. The worms can grow up to a foot long reaching the blood vessels, heart and lungs. If the worms aren’t treated they can lead to lung disease and heart failure.
How are heartworms detected in pets?
To diagnose your pet with heartworms we run blood tests. We collect a small sample of their blood and check for heartworm proteins. If the test confirms the presence of worms we will perform other diagnostic testing. Since the disease affects vital organs like the heart and lungs we’ll perform X-rays and ultrasounds to check for any damage.
What are signs of heartworm in my pet?
The disease affects each pet differently so the signs may look different. Another factor to consider is that the signs your pet may show depends on how long they have been infected and how many worms are inside them. Some signs you can look for are:
- Persistent coughing
- Swollen abdomen
- Reluctance to exercise
Why does my pet need to get tested?
As mentioned before, the disease can go undetected in the early stages. The signs that your pet is infected can be caused by other conditions and so we need to perform testing to diagnose the disease. By catching the disease before it worsens our team can create a treatment plan that helps them fully recover. We recommend that your pet be tested for heartworms every year. If it’s time for your pet to get tested, give us a call at 613-542-5552.
How can I prevent heartworms in my pet?
Prevention medication and regular testing go hand in hand. For the medication to be the most effective you must follow a strict schedule. All doses should be administered on time, as being late can result in your pet catching the disease.