Heartworm Testing for Pets

Heartworm disease is one of the many reasons you should never miss your pet’s annual veterinary exam. This infection is one of the more fatal ones that, even if treated, can leave long lasting damage to your pet’s organs and quality of life. Heartworms are foot-long parasites that enter your cat or dog’s blood stream. While in your pet, they reproduce and mature until serious symptoms start to develop. More severe cases are common in dogs, who can carry up to 60 worms in their heart leading to blockage and irregular blood flow. Cats are not common carriers and usually host less than 5. However, they can and will be impeded by a respiratory illness if left untreated. To find out if your pet has heartworms and how to prevent them, book an appointment with us at 403.982.8387.

How can my pet contract heartworms?

The main culprit is the mosquito. When heartworm babies (microfilaria) live in wild animals, like coyotes and foxes, a mosquito who has sucked their blood can transmit some of those baby worms to your dog or cat. When bitten, those babies enter your pet’s blood stream and can mature and reproduce.

How do you treat heartworms in pets?

Cats and dogs have different care needs when it comes to heartworm.

To Prevent:

Dogs receive medicine that protects them from heartworms or removes the parasites gradually. Cats on the other hand can only be given medicine that is preventative. Preventative medication comes in many forms for both pets, including topical creams, injections and pills. Our veterinarians can help you choose a method that works best for you and your pet.

To Treat:

If your dog is already infected, cleaning heartworms from their system could require surgery or multiple injectable treatments. In some cases, cats may be suitable for a removal procedure if the parasites are visible through ultrasound.

How frequently should my pet be tested for heartworm?

Your pets should be tested annually and appointments should not be missed, especially for cats since it is, at the moment, quite difficult to treat them. Dogs and cats are tested through bloodwork. We may use ultrasounds on cats for extra reassurance.

Last updated: September 20, 2021.

Dear Clients,

Due to the current changes coming from Alberta Health, we have gone back to a limited capacity policy as of Monday, September 20th, 2021.

This means that we are allowing one client to come in for their pet’s appointment, provided that they are properly masked the entire time when inside of the clinic.

When you arrive for your appointment please call us at 403 982 8387 from the parking lot.

We are making these changes for the safety of you and our staff, and we appreciate your business and patience during this time.

To help limit exposure and to keep our clients and team members safe, we urge you to check out our new online store at https://www.myvetstore.ca/elizabethstreetpet for food purchases.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to call us at 403 982 8387 or email us at reception@elizabethstreetvet.com.

We are making these changes for the safety of you and our staff. We appreciate your business and patience during this time.

Thank you,

Elizabeth Street Pet Hospital