The Importance of Heartworm Testing

Brogli, Lane, Weaver & Alexander Animal Hospital, Murfreesboro TN
May 25, 2017
Negative Heartworm Test

“Has your dog been tested recently for heartworms?” You’ve probably heard this from your veterinarian at your dog’s yearly exam or maybe when you last bought heartworm prevention. You may have wondered why you hear us talk about heartworm testing so much and why we want to test your pet every year even when you give monthly prevention. We know, we probably sound like a broken record.

The reason we insist on heartworm testing your dog annually is due to the prevalence of heartworm disease here in Middle Tennessee. It is fatal if left untreated. The only way to detect and diagnose the disease is with a blood sample.

Here are the facts we want you to know:
  • No Prevention is 100% Effective
    You may be thinking, “but isn’t that why my dog takes prevention every month?” Heartworm prevention is very effective, but just like most other medications, it is not 100% effective. You may forget to give a dose, you may give the dose late, your dog may vomit the pill back up without you realizing. All of these scenarios leave gaps in your pet’s protection and leave them vulnerable to contracting heartworm disease. This is why we insist on heartworm testing your pet annually even if they take heartworm prevention.
  • An Annual Test Guarantees Your Product
    Most companies provide a guarantee on their product if you test your pet annually, give heartworm prevention consistently and buy the prevention from your veterinarian. What this means is, if your pet becomes infected with heartworm disease despite testing them annually and giving prevention consistently the company who makes your chosen product will pay for your pet’s heartworm treatment (ask your veterinarian about this next time you’re visiting).
  • Early Detection Saves Lives There are no visible signs or symptoms of early stage heartworm disease. The only way to detect and diagnose heartworm disease is with a blood test. Early detection is key! Heartworm disease is progressive and the earlier we are able to detect the disease the better the chance of a full recovery.

Need a quick review on heartworms and where they come from?

Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitos. It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to infect your dog. The climate here in the south makes it a very prevalent area for heartworm disease, and warmer than usual temperatures this year have experts forecasting an increase in mosquitos and heartworm disease in 2017.

We want to make sure your pet is protected and safe from heartworm disease. If you have any concerns, questions or just want to find out if your pet is current on a heartworm test please give us a call at 615-893-1728. We’re here to help!