Heartworm testing can detect heartworms, which can infect your pet’s heart and other vital organs. Testing is the only way to diagnose heartworm disease, which is more difficult to treat in its later stages. Though infections are more common in dogs, cats also need to be regularly tested for heartworms.
How can my pet get infected with heartworm disease?
Infected mosquitos bite pets, passing on larvae that enter their bloodstream. In your pet’s heart, they develop into adult worms that can mate and reproduce. It typically takes 5-6 months for a heartworm to complete its life cycle, which is when adult heartworms are most detectable. We use a blood sample to run an antigen test, which can detect as few as one heartworm. We follow up with a microfilariae test to confirm adult heartworms in the heart. Puppies and kittens don’t typically get infected before they’re 6 to 7-months-old, so they don’t need to be tested before then. If you’d like to get your pet tested, please contact us at 416-775-0101.
What are the signs of heartworm disease?
Heartworm disease affects your pet’s heart, lungs and pulmonary artery. The signs of heartworm disease typically worsen over time. In the early stages of the infection, your pet shows little to no symptoms. The disease can impact your pet’s quality of life and overall health, often causing:
- Persistent cough
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Shying away from physical activity