Heartworm disease is a serious illness, which could cause death if left untreated. Heartworms, the parasites that cause the disease, can live undetected in your pet for months or even years. Heartworm testing is the only way to definitively determine if your dog or cat is hosting heartworms in their lungs, heart or blood vessels.
How can my dog or cat get infected with heartworms?
Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes. When a mosquito bites an infected animal, baby heartworms could be passed on if your dog or cat is bitten. After they enter through the surface of the skin, it can take up to six months for a heartworm to fully develop. Adult heartworms can live in dogs for up to seven years. Regular testing allows us to detect heartworms in the early stages of an infection. To learn more, please contact us at 613-384-0986.
Can you diagnose heartworm disease without testing?
Heartworm testing is the best way to confirm if your dog or cat has them. Not all heartworm infections progress into heartworm disease. If your pet has the disease, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be fatal. If caught in the early stages, your dog or cat has a strong chance of making a full recovery. For the test, we take a small blood sample to test for heartworm proteins. Some of the following signs could mean your beloved pet may have heartworm disease:
- Persistent cough
- Difficulty breathing
- Weight loss
- Lack of appetite
Can heartworms survive in a cat’s body?
Dogs are the ideal hosts for heartworms since their bodies provide the type of conditions that make it possible for them to live out their entire lifespan. Though not impossible, most heartworms don’t fully develop into the adult stage in cats. However, younger heartworms can still cause complications in cats, like heartworm-associated respiratory disease (HARD). Symptoms typically develop after the disease has progressed and can include coughing, difficulty breathing, asthma-like attacks and vomiting.