Why Test for Heartworm Disease?

We have recently come upon the test result universally feared by pet owners and veterinary professionals alike: a positive heartworm test.  This poor pup was adopted from down South, where heartworm disease is much more prevalent, and most likely was infected before her current owners got her.  One bite from a mosquito carrying the larva is all it takes.

You’ve heard us say before that it is overall much, much easier and healthier to prevent heartworm than it is to treat it.  1 pill per month (or even 1 injection every 6 months- ask us about ProHeart!) is all it takes. Doesn’t that sound easier than:

  • at least one course of antibiotics

  • a series of painful injections

  • day-long hospitalizations for observation after the injections

  • strict cage-rest for at least one month after treatment

. . . and this is what is done for a pet in relatively good health who is not symptomatic.

If you give heartworm preventative to a dog with active heartworms, it will start to kill off the adult worms, which can cause a catastrophic embolus of dead heartworms in the bloodstream and/or heart, which can endanger the life of the dog.  This is why we require testing for heartworm disease before administering heartworm preventative.

If you haven’t had your dog in yet this year for his or her heartworm test, now is the time! Mosquitoes are already around, so the threat is already out there!  You know what they say about an ounce of prevention. . .

Here are some great websites where you can learn more about heartworm disease: