Since you love your pets, you want them to be as healthy and happy as possible. Heartworm disease is a major cause of concern for both dogs and cats, and if you even suspect that they may have heartworms, you should take them to the veterinarian to determine if this is the case.
In order to determine whether your beloved dog or cat has been infected, a heartworm antigen test kit will be used. It is possible, however, to administer a cat or dog heartworm test at home as well as at a veterinary clinic. If your dog or cat does have heartworms, it’s important to note that there are treatment options available.
Dogs and Heartworms
Every year, it is estimated that a million dogs test positive for heartworms in the United States. When a dog is infected, they may have a minimum of 30 heartworms that have spread into their heart and lungs. The severity of this disease relates to the number of worms with which they are infected.
Cats and Heartworms
When cats are infected with heartworms, they may only have 6 or less that have spread to their heart and lungs. Cats may become very ill when they’re infected with just 1 to 2 worms.
The Importance of Preventative Measures
When pets receive monthly preventative treatments, it can make a significant difference on their health as well as medical costs. Since heartworm treatments may cost around $1,000.00, taking preventative measures will provide significant savings.
If you have a new puppy, for example, they can begin to receive preventative measures. When they are under 7 months old, a test is usually not performed. This is because it can take a minimum of 6 months after being infected for your puppy to test positive for heartworms.
After their initial visit to the veterinarian, your puppy should be tested again in 6 months. Following that test, they should be tested in another 6 months and then annually. This is to ensure that they are free from infection.
When a heartworm antigen test kit is used, it will then be analyzed by a veterinary clinical diagnostics service to determine whether or not your cat or dog are infected. Given the potential effects of heartworms on you family pet, it’s important to take them for regular veterinary wellness check-ups rather than waiting until they are ill to address their existing or potential health needs.