The Benefits of Annual Heartworm Testing

It is important to test annually for these diseases to ensure your dog is healthy

by Dr. Jessica Roebuck, PetIQ Veterinarian

The Heartworm/Tick-Borne Disease test is a single blood test that screens for heartworm disease, Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis.

Heartworm disease is caused by the parasitic worm Dirofilaria immitis. These parasites are transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito and live and grow in the heart and pulmonary artery of the dog. Common clinical signs can include coughing, reluctance to exercise, or sudden collapse. Dogs can develop permanent damage to their heart and lungs.

Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis are known as tick-borne diseases. They are transmitted when ticks bite and feed. Ticks can carry more than one type of disease, and dogs can be bitten by multiple ticks. It is possible that Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis can occur at the same time in the same dog. Depending on the disease, common clinical signs can include fever, lethargy, lameness, joint pain, or abnormal bruising.

It is important to test annually for these diseases to ensure your dog is healthy. To prevent infection with the most common mosquito and tick-borne pathogens, dogs should be maintained on a regular, year-round, and broad-spectrum parasite control program that includes prevention for fleas, ticks, heartworms, and intestinal parasites. Our clinics carry a wide array of products and our veterinarians can work with you to determine the best protocol for keeping your dog protected and healthy.

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