Dog Heartworm Test
Heartworm is a serious and possibly fatal disease caused by parasitic worms which travel through a dog’s bloodstream and into the blood vessels of the heart and lungs. The severity of the disease is directly related to the number of worms present in the body. To find out if your dog has contracted heartworms, your veterinarian can perform an antigen blood test to see if there are heartworms present, other testing methods may include urinalysis or radiographs.
What are the symptoms of heartworms in a dog?
The symptoms of heartworm disease are: a persistent cough, exercise intolerance, anemia, fainting spells, and in the most severe cases, right-sided chronic heart failure.
How do dogs get heartworm?
Heartworm disease is not contagious and can only be contracted through the bite of an infected mosquito. When a dog is bitten, the mosquito transmits worm larvae to the new host where they then migrate to parts of the dog’s heart and lungs.
What are the treatment options for Heartworms?
Treatment for heartworm disease usually requires the dog to be hospitalized and administered an adulticide designed to kill heartworms. After the initial treatment, a monthly internal parasite treatment will need to be administered at home, and the dog’s activity will need to be restricted for the first 4-6 weeks. In some more severe cases, surgery may be required to remove the adult worm.
Why is Recovery and heartworm treatment challenging?
Recovery can be challenging for many reasons. The cost of the treatment can be very expensive, and recovery can take several treatments and can be very time-consuming. Four months after the initial treatment, another antigen test should be performed to make sure all of the worms have died. If the test is positive the treatment should then be repeated.