Heartworm Testing for Pets

Heartworm testing helps determine if your pet has been infected by heartworms, which can have life threatening consequences. Once heartworms have made their way into your pet’s heart, they can also cause long lasting damage to other vital organs. Testing is the only way to detect and confirm an infection before it progresses and becomes untreatable. 

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How is my pet tested?

We use bloodwork to determine if your pet is infected with heartworms. After collecting a blood sample, we analyse it to see if they have antigens, which are a sign of adult female heartworms in your pet’s body. The typical life cycle of heartworms can be up to seven years, which is why regular testing is crucial. Our tests can detect even one worm in your pet’s body, though hundreds of these parasites can infect your furry friend at one time. It typically takes five months for a heartworm to fully develop, so we recommend testing at least every six months, especially if your pet lives in a high risk area. The disease not only affects your pet’s heart but can also affect their lungs and can cause other organ damage. If left untreated, the disease can be fatal. 

When should my pet get tested?

If your pet is showing symptoms of a heartworm infection, you should contact us immediately at 604-940-0899. Some common symptoms include a persistent cough, tiredness after exercise, loss of appetite, weight loss and a swollen belly. Since symptoms are more likely to appear when heartworm disease has progressed, it’s important to test your pet regularly. We highly recommend your pet get tested before starting any heartworm preventive medications. Preventive medication is a cost effective way to protect your pet from the range of health conditions an infection would cause. Other times we’ll recommend testing include: 

  • During peak periods of heartworm season 
  • If you live in an area with a high infection rate 
  • If your pet is switching to a different preventive medication 
  • If you missed the window to give your pet their preventive 

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