Your pet needs to have annual heartworm testing. According to the American Heartworm Association, the number of heartworm positive cases continues to rise, especially in the southeastern section of the United States. Heartworm prevention medication for dogs and cats is extremely effective and is the best option to ensure your pet remains free of heartworm disease. However, if you have forgotten to give your pet their heartworm preventative or you have recently adopted a pet of unknown heartworm preventative status, the doctors at Apollo Pet Hospital & Resort can use a diagnostic test to determine if your dog has heartworm disease.
Canine Heartworm Testing
Mature heartworms produce a substance known as antigen, which can normally be detected with a heartworm test at our hospital. Within a few minutes, our veterinarians can complete an antigen test as well as search the blood of your dog under a microscope for immature heartworms (known as “microfilaria”). The doctors at Apollo Pet Hospital & Resort follow the recommendations set forth by the American Heartworm Society and will retest your dog in six (6) months to ensure your dog is heartworm free. Retesting is recommended since immature heartworm infections do not always show up initially on antigen testing.
Feline Heartworm Testing
Testing cats for heartworm disease is actually much more difficult than it is for our canine friends. The heartworm tests currently available do not always detect the antigen required for the test since felines often have few, if any, adult heartworms. Often our feline friends are affected differently from canines. In cats, it is typically the lungs that are damaged (Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease or “H.A.R.D.”) rather than the heart. Unfortunately, cats are almost as susceptible to H.A.R.D. as canines are to heartworm disease and testing for H.A.R.D. remains difficult. Even when detected, heartworms are not treatable in felines, so prevention is the only answer for our feline friends.
As with many conditions seen at Apollo Pet Hospital & Resort, prevention of heartworms is much more effective and less costly than their treatment. Our doctors attend lectures and seminars each year to stay up to date on the latest developments in the veterinary field including treatments and preventatives for heartworms. This knowledge enables our doctors to stock our pharmacy with the safest and most effective heartworm preventatives. Call us to schedule your dog or cat’s heartworm test whether it’s an annual test, a first time test for your youngster, or a test following a lapse in preventative protection.
Apollo Pet Hospital & Resort provides heartworm and parasite testing services to pets in Huntsville and surrounding communities including Meridianville, Hazel Green, Lacey’s Spring, and Decatur.