Heartworm Testing for Pets
Heartworms are parasites that can live in your pet’s heart, lungs and bloodstream for years. Sometimes, it takes an extreme infestation before your pet shows symptoms. This is why heartworm testing should be done regularly. The earlier heartworms are detected, the sooner they can be removed from your pet’s system. If your pet is living with heartworms for too long, it can lead to organ failure, respiratory issues or death. To schedule a heartworm test for your pet, call us at 902.794.7387.
How do you test for heartworms?
We test for heartworms by taking a sample of your pet’s blood. It is among one of the many conditions we look for in your pet’s bloodwork during their annual veterinary exam. The test detects specific heartworm proteins, called antigens, which are released by adult female heartworms. Remnants of this antigen prove your pet has a heartworm infection and allow us to create a treatment plan immediately.
What kind of medication must my pet take to remove heartworms from their body?
Unfortunately, there is no medication that can remove heartworm from cats. (Surgery is the only option for feline patients.) However, there is injectable deworming medication available for dogs. It can take about 6 months to completely eradicate heartworms from your pet’s system. During this time, pet owners should discourage their dogs from being too active to avoid potential blood clots caused by the dying and broken up worms traveling through their body.
How can I keep my cat safe from heartworm?
There is heartworm prevention medication suitable for cats and dogs. Since heartworms cannot be removed from a cat’s body, this is the best course of action for cats. Heartworm medication should be administered monthly or as suggested by your veterinarian. There are topical and oral options that can protect your pet from heartworms only or from other parasites as well. Don’t hesitate to speak with our veterinarians about your pet’s medical options. We’ll be able to recommend or advise you on the best choices for your pet.