Canine Heartworm Prevention
Heartworm disease is a serious disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes and can be fatal if left untreated. Our veterinarians recommend that all dogs be given year round heartworm prevention, regardless of their lifestyle.
A simple blood test is needed to check your dog for heartworm disease on an annual basis. Heartworm prevention is administered once a month either by pill or by topical application. Depending on the specific product you and your veterinarian choose for your pet, heartworm prevention medication can prevent other parasite infestations including internal parasites (intestinal parasites) and external parasites (fleas and ticks).
When starting heartworm prevention, or if your dog has not been on heartworm prevention year round, it is important that you perform an initial heartworm test and an additional heartworm test 6-7 months after starting the prevention to fully rule out the prior infection. During the early stages of development, some larvae are not detectable by the test. It may take a full 6-7 months before they can be detected, which is why we need to repeat the testing later after starting preventative measures.
Why does my dog need a blood test before purchasing heartworm prevention?
Dogs can get sick (vomiting, diarrhea, and/or death) if placed on heartworm prevention when they have a severe heartworm disease. Even if they have been on heartworm prevention year round there is always the possibility that the product may have failed for various reasons (your pet spit out the pill, did not absorb the pill appropriately, topical medicine was not applied properly, forgot to administer medication on time, etc.) and the earlier we can treat your pet for heartworm disease, the better the prognosis. Some companies will guarantee their product providing that you use the heartworm prevention year round and are performing yearly heartworm test.
Doesn’t the fecal sample test for heartworms?
No. Heartworm disease is a blood-borne disease that is transmitted through mosquitoes. A simple blood test will confirm whether or not your dog has heartworm disease.