Heartworm Testing

Heartworm testing detects heartworms, which cause heart disease and other health complications.

Heartworm testing is the only way to determine if your dog/cat has a heartworm infection. Many dogs and cats don’t show symptoms of infections during the early stages or when they have a lower worm count. Routine testing coupled with monthly parasite preventive medication is the best way to protect your dog or cat from infections.

How are heartworms transmitted?

When mosquitoes bite into a cat or dog’s skin, they can transmit heartworms into their systems. These parasites can severely, and sometimes fatally, damage the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Some dogs or cats don’t show any signs of infection at all or for several years. For those that do, symptoms can vary widely to include coughing, swollen abdomens, vomiting, difficulty breathing and more. If your dog or cat is showing any of these signs, please contact us at 613-748-9820.

How often do you perform heartworm testing?

Our policy is a bit different than the current general guidelines in Ontario. We believe that by conducting heartworm tests twice a year, we can maintain a high degree of certainty that your dog/cat doesn’t have heartworms. We can begin preventative medication after the first test is negative and we retreat with the chosen preventative monthly every year from June/July to mid-October or November (longer if you’re also trying to prevent fleas). We do not retest unless you have forgotten to treat one year or have missed key months.

How do you spread awareness about heartworm disease?

Throughout March to May, we remind and educate clients about heartworm disease. We retrain our staff to get them ready for the season so that they are knowledgeable about the various kinds of preventatives that are available and can answer your questions. We also begin testing or retesting our patients to make sure they are free of heartworms. Dogs are infected more often but there are still instances when cats can get heartworms.

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