heartworm disease testing

Testing is key for preventing heartworm disease

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world. The disease It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body.  While heartworms can live in dogs, cats and ferrets, approved treatment is currently only available for dogs, so testing and other prevention steps are key to reducing the risk for Heartworm disease.

Testing pets, specifically dogs, for heartworms is crucial for several reasons:

    • Early Detection:
      Heartworm disease is caused by a parasitic worm called Dirofilaria immitis. When a mosquito carrying infective larvae bites a dog, the larvae can mature into adult worms and reside in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels. By testing dogs for heartworms, especially in areas where heartworm disease is prevalent, it allows for early detection of the infection. Early detection increases the chances of successful treatment and reduces the risk of complications.
    • Asymptomatic Dogs:
      Dogs infected with heartworms may not show any visible signs of the disease in the early stages. They can remain asymptomatic for several months or even years. By regularly testing dogs, even if they appear healthy, it helps identify infections before the dog’s condition worsens. Treating heartworm disease in its early stages is less challenging and more likely to result in a positive outcome.
    • Preventive Measures:
      Heartworm testing is an integral part of an overall preventive healthcare plan for dogs. If a dog tests positive for heartworms, it alerts the owner and the veterinarian to take appropriate steps to mitigate the spread of the disease and prevent it from affecting other dogs in the area. It also prompts discussions about preventive measures, such as monthly heartworm preventives, which are highly effective in protecting dogs from heartworm infection when used consistently.
    • Avoidance of Complications:
      If left untreated, heartworm disease can lead to severe health issues and potentially be fatal. Heartworms can cause damage to the heart, lungs, and other vital organs. By testing dogs, it ensures that infected animals receive proper treatment promptly, minimizing the risk of complications and improving their chances of a full recovery.
    • Public Health Concern:
      Heartworms primarily affect dogs, but they can also infect other animals, including cats, ferrets, and in rare cases, humans. Although humans are considered accidental hosts, the parasites can cause serious health complications if they infect people. Regular testing and prevention in dogs help reduce the overall prevalence of heartworms in the community, decreasing the risk of human infection as well.

    In summary, heartworm testing is important for early detection, protecting the pet’s health, preventing transmission, ensuring compliance with preventive medication, and providing peace of mind for pet owners. Regular testing, in combination with preventive measures, is essential for maintaining the well-being of pets and minimizing the impact of heartworm disease. To learn more about heartworm testing or preventative measures, give us a call or schedule an appointment.

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924 N. Main Boerne, TX
(830) 249-2341


115 W. Bandera Boerne, TX
(830) 249-8040

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