Heartworm Testing

Heartworm testing detects harmful parasites that can wreak havoc on organs like the heart and lungs.

Heartworms are a type of intestinal parasite that can infect both cats and dogs. The worms are transmitted by infected mosquitoes that may bite your loyal companion. The worms can grow up to a foot and take about 6 to 7 months to mature while inside the host. From there, the worms will create more offspring. Heartworms mainly live in the pulmonary vessels and heart. The worms can clog the heart and make it difficult to pump out blood which can lead to heart failure. Heartworm testing and prevention is essential for your cherished companion’s wellbeing.

What are signs of heartworms?

Your cat or dog can be infected for months before there are any clinical signs, this is why your veterinarian will recommend frequent testing. In dogs, the symptoms will be linked to problems with their heart and lungs. These will include:

  • Coughing 
  • Collapsing
  • Lethargy
  • Resistant to exercise
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive panting
  • Sudden death

Cats will have the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Open mouth breathing
  • Decreased appetite
  • Coughing
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Heart murmur
  • Sudden death

Before your feline or canine begins to show signs of the disease, contact your veterinarian and get them tested. To schedule a heartworm test for your loyal companion, please call us at 613-384-6618.

How are heartworms treated?

Heartworm treatment is a lengthy process on its own, so it is better to prevent the infection altogether. It is difficult to treat heartworms in cats as they are allergic to melarsomine, which is mainly used to treat canines who have heartworms. Instead, your feline pal will be monitored until their immune system fights off the infection. In severe cases surgery may be recommended to remove the worms. For dogs, their activities must be restricted to prevent the worms from dislodging and possibly causing clots, and they must stay indoors. The veterinarian may prescribe steroids, antibiotics, and a specific heartworm preventive to flush out worms and decrease inflammation.

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