Heartworm disease can be fatal for your pet. Even though it’s more common in our canine friends, cats can still contract the disease. Heartworms are the culprit of transmitting the disease, living inside your pet’s heart and causing a range of health complications. Regular testing allows us to detect them and decide the best course of action to treat them, if your pet is infected.
What are heartworms?
Heartworms are parasites that enter your pet after they’ve been bitten by a mosquito. Mosquitos transport heartworm larvae, which take around 5-6 months to develop into an adult heartworm. Heartworms typically live inside your pet’s heart and pulmonary artery. This is harmful for them since this large blood vessel is responsible for carrying blood to the lungs. In addition to affecting your pet’s heart, these parasites also cause lasting impact on their lungs and other vital organs.
How can heartworm disease affect my pet?
If your pet develops the disease, there’s a chance you won’t notice any signs in the early stages. The more worms your pet is infected with, the worse their symptoms will be. As the infection progresses, signs you can look out for include:
- Shying away from exercise
Why do they need to get tested?
The only way to know for sure if your pet has heartworms is through testing. We’ll process your pet’s blood test in our in-house laboratory to determine if they have heartworms. Pets below 7 months of age don’t need to be tested since they’re not good hosts for adult heartworms at that age. Though treatment is available, the best way to protect your pet is by ensuring they’re regularly taking a heartworm preventive. If your pet needs to be place on heartworm prevention, please contact us at 403-288-7299.