Heartworm Testing & Treatment
in Addison, Texas
Heartworm disease is considered a very serious and common disease in pets. It is caused by worms that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets. These worms, which can grow to be up to a foot long, are transmitted through the bite of a mosquito and can cause lung disease, heart failure and damage to other important organs in the body. Heartworm disease commonly affects dogs, but it can also affect cats and other mammal species. If heartworm disease is not treated, it can cause long term damage to major organs. Heartworm infection in cats is harder to detect than in dogs because cats are much less likely than dogs to have adult heartworms. Because there is no approved treatment for heartworm infection in cats, prevention is critical.
At Isla, we offer heartworm testing and we also carry heartworm prevention products. All dogs should be tested annually for heartworm infection, even while on year-round prevention, and this can usually be done during a routine visit for preventive care. This test requires a very small blood sample from your pet and results are obtained quickly.
For puppies under 7 months of age, we recommend testing 6 months after the first visit, then again 6 months later. After this second blood test, we perform yearly heartworm testing. These puppies can be started on heartworm prevention before 7 months of age without an initial heartworm test. For dogs over the age of 7 months that are not previously on heartworm prevention, we require testing before starting a prevention protocol, followed by retesting 6 months and 12 months later. After these two tests, we perform yearly routine heartworm tests. At all times and as long as your dog has negative results with these tests, we strongly recommend continuing with the monthly preventive.
Heartworm prevention medications are highly effective, but dogs can still become infected. For this reason, heartworm prevention year-round is by far the best option and strongly recommended. If your pet were to test positive, further tests may be recommended, along with an FDA approved treatment protocol. The good news is that most infected dogs can be successfully treated! Please do not hesitate to share with us any questions you may have and we will gladly help you with such an important topic.