Heartworm Testing for Dogs
Heartworm, known as Dirofilaria immitis, is a type of parasite that your loyal companion can get from the bite of a mosquito. Heartworm can severely damage your pet’s hearts, lungs and other internal organs. They can grow to about 1-feet-long and can be fatal for your pet if they continue to live inside them. Cats, dogs and other animals can get heartworm but our canine pals are the most ideal host. In fact, several hundreds of heartworms can live inside a dog if left untreated.
What are the symptoms of heartworm?
In the early stages, or if your pet has a mild case of heartworm, symptoms are almost non-existent. This is why they should come into the hospital regularly for a wellness exam. Please contact our team at 613.543.2812 to schedule your next appointment. As the disease progresses, symptoms become more obvious, especially if your pet is highly active or if they have many heartworms in them. These signs include: persistent cough, weight loss, swollen belly, fatigue, laboured breathing and difficulty walking.
What are the treatment options for heartworm?
Prevention is the best defence against heartworm. It is important that your pet receives regular medications against heartworm and that their medications are always given on time – even missing just one dose can leave your pet unprotected. If your pet does test positive for heartworm, treatment can take up to several months depending on disease severity. Manual removal and drug injections may be used to kill the heartworms in your pet. Lifestyle modifications such as limiting the amount of exercise your pet gets may also be prescribed, as increased movement causes heartworm to multiply even faster.