Heartworm Testing

Increasing the chance of survival by reducing the risk of contracting heartworm disease.

Heartworm disease is becoming a major concern in Southern Canada. Mosquitos carry the heartworm larvae, and when they bite, they infect the dog with baby heartworm called microfilaria. These grow to be adult heartworm and stay in the heart and reproduce more heartworm parasites.

If a dog has heartworms, what symptoms should I look for?

Dogs with heartworm potentially have no symptoms. It may take a while for the infection to spread before symptoms such as lethargy, shortness of breath and pale gums appear, and they may only be apparent in severe cases.

How does a dog get heartworms?

Unfortunately, is very easy for a dog to become infected. Heartworm is contracted from a mosquito that bites a dog and transmits the microfilaria to the dog. The dog now has the first stage of the heartworm diseases. Over time, the microfilaria will grow to be adult heartworm and will mate and produce more microfilaria without the help of the mosquito.

What are the treatment options for heartworms?

Currently, we offer two options for heartworm treatment. The 1st is the quick kill method. This is a series of three injections that are meant to kill off the heartworm quickly, and it is highly effective. The second option is the slow kill method by going on monthly heartworm medication. This may take years to be effective, and the first option is not always better than the other. Your vet will take your dog’s age and health into consideration when deciding what the proper treatment is for your dog.

Why is recovery for heartworm treatment so challenging?

Recovery for heartworm treatment is challenging due to the adult heartworm residing in the heart. Once the adult heartworm dies, the body has to remove the rest of the heartworm from circulation slowly. If the heartworm is too large when they die off, a piece could get stuck in a smaller vessel and cause further problems.

Return to Dog Services