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Heartworm Testing

Heartworms, or Dirofilaria immitis, are blood parasites that can lodge themselves in the heart and pulmonary arteries of an animal. Since a heartworm can measure up to 35 cm long, it can cause extensive damage, and can even result in death. Female worms also give birth to larvae which grow into adults within seven months. Prevention is extremely important for your pet’s well-being: you’ll find a number of antiparasite products on the market.

How can my pet become infected?

Heartworms are spread through mosquito bites. Since mosquitoes are active in Québec from spring until fall, any animal who spends time outdoors is at risk unless they’ve received preventative treatment.

How can I tell if my cat or dog has heartworm disease?

Given the symptoms of heartworm disease are not immediately apparent, and show up in the later stages, testing requires a blood test. The test we carry out at the clinic also allows us to detect other parasites transmissible by ticks. Since we have our own laboratory, we can provide same-day results. We recommend annual heartworm disease testing.

What are the signs my pet has heartworms?

When animals have a severe heartworm problem (with increasing numbers of adult worms and larvae) animals become unable to exert themselves, have a persistent cough and drop weight.

Why is it important to test for heartworm infection?

Since symptoms only appear once the problem is serious, testing helps quickly identify an infection. If your pet is already infected, treatment can be difficult, given the location of the worms.

Testing also allows us to prevent your pet from transmitting the infection to other animals, since a single mosquito can spread heartworm to numerous other animals.


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