As a pet owner, you’re committed to keeping your pet healthy, happy, and safe. To help you care for your beloved companion, our staff at Midland-Eglinton Animal Hospital proudly provides essential pet wellness services for dogs, cats, and other animals, including heartworm testing.
Read on to learn more about heartworm testing for dogs and cats in Scarborough, ON, including when you should bring your animal in to get tested.
What Are Heartworms?
Heartworms are parasitic worms called Dirofilaria immitis that grow inside the hearts, lungs, and blood vessels of animals such as dogs and cats. These worms spread via mosquito bites and can grow inside an animal unnoticed for weeks or months. If heartworms grow large enough, symptoms such as persistent cough, swollen belly, lethargy (tiredness), and breathing problems can develop.
Why Heartworm Testing for Dogs and Cats is So Important
Heartworm disease is a serious and life-threatening disease in animals that can cause organ failure and death. Testing your pet for heartworm regularly is one of the best ways to keep your pet safer:
- Heartworm disease can be avoided by giving your animal preventive medication, typically in the form of a monthly pill or ointment. However, heartworm prevention medication cannot be given to animals who are already infected. Testing your pet regularly ensures that it’s safe for you to continue giving your pet its routine preventive medication.
- Remember: an animal can be infected with heartworms for months without exhibiting any noticeable symptoms. By the time a pet does start to show symptoms, heartworm disease has already progressed to a more severe stage. Testing regularly gives you the peace of mind that your pet is heartworm-free or, if necessary, can help your veterinarian initiate treatment or additional diagnostic tests as soon as possible.
- Even if an animal receives treatment for heartworms, such as medication or surgery to remove the worms, the animal may experience chronic health problems related to the lasting damage caused by the heartworms. Routine testing and preventive medication (which cost much less than heartworm treatment) are essential for helping your pet avoid these complications and enjoy a longer, more comfortable life.
Bringing Your Pet to Our Scarborough Veterinarian Team for Heartworm Testing: What to Expect
Heartworm disease is more common in certain parts of Canada, including southern Ontario. Our Scarborough veterinarian staff recommends bringing your animal in once per year to get tested for heartworm.
We use a variety of methods to test animals for heartworms, depending on each pet’s unique situation, including:
- Blood tests
- Imaging studies, like echocardiography X-rays, to take pictures of an animal’s heart and lungs
- Electrocardiogram, which measures the electrical activity of an animal’s heart
Is Your Cat or Dog Due for Heartworm Testing?
Don’t delay heartworm testing—it could save your pet’s life! If you’d like to bring your cat or dog to a veterinarian in Scarborough ON for heartworm testing, call the Midland-Eglinton Animal Hospital today at 416-752-8511 to schedule your appointment, or fill out this form to request an appointment online.