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Heartworm Testing for Pets

Heartworms are parasites that carry a potentially life-threatening disease for furry friends. Mosquitoes and wild animals like foxes and coyotes can act as carriers for heartworms, which can impact the likelihood of your pet being affected by heartworm disease. Heartworm testing is an important part of protecting your pet from the disease.

Why should my pet get tested?

Heartworms can infect your pet through mosquitoes. When a mosquito bites an infected animal, it can transmit the disease. After around 6 months, heartworms are adult-sized. At this stage, they live in your furry friend’s body for 5 to 7 years in dogs and 2 to 3 years in cats. The longer heartworms live inside your pet, the more detrimental it can be to their health. It’s important to have your pet regularly tested so we can develop a course of action early if they are infected.

How do heartworms affect pets?

Heartworm disease can be fatal for pets. Heartworms can live in your pet’s heart, lungs and blood vessels, causing long-lasting complications. Even after heartworms have been removed, your pet might experience damage to its heart, lungs and arteries. The disease impacts dogs and cats differently since dogs are more suitable hosts for heartworms. For dogs, heartworms can fully develop into adults and reproduce hundreds of worms inside them. Since the disease can have a detrimental impact on their health, it’s important to ensure your pet is taking a heartworm preventive. For cats, their bodies are less conducive to heartworms living inside. However, it’s still important to test your pet since it can still cause lasting damage, like Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD).

What are the signs of heartworm disease?

In the early stages, there might be no signs of the disease. However, if you notice any of these signs in your pet, please contact us immediately at 204.488.1843. Depending on your pet, symptoms might look like:

  • Consistent coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tiredness or lack of interest in physical activities
  • Weight loss or loss of appetite