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Why should I Heartworm test my dog?
Yearly tests for heartworms are endorsed by the American Heartworm Association, American Veterinary Association, American Animal Hospital Association as well as recommended by most veterinarians.
These recommendations for yearly heartworm testing are based on the fact that heartworm infection can cause serious damage to a dog’s heart and can do so in a fairly short period of time.
- Even though currently available heartworm preventive medications are very effective, there is truly no medication which is able to claim 100% effectiveness.
- In addition, there may have been lapses in the monthly heartworm preventive treatment protocol if the owner forgot to give the medications for a month or two and did not realize this was the case.
- Compliance issues can occur with dogs also and some dogs can be quite adept in pretending to swallow medications which they actually have not swallowed.
In effect, the yearly heartworm test is seen as a safety measure to protect the health of your dog and evaluate the efficacy of the heartworm preventive medication your dog is taking. In the past, local dog owners may not have done heartworm testing because it was not prevalent in this area. After hurricane Katrina, many of the homeless dogs from Louisiana were shipped all over the country-many to NYS. Since then, cases of heartworm disease have increased dramatically. The estimate for heartworm treatment is approximately $800-$1200 and unfortunately is not without risk. Comparatively, annual blood parasite testing (HWT4DX) costs $54 and there are a variety of monthly preventatives ranging from $7.76 to $21.58 per month depending on how many parasites the prevention controls. In addition to preventing heartworm infections, monthly preventatives control a variety of gastrointestinal parasites and in some cases, fleas.
Additionally, the 4DX Plus heartworm test used here at Chenango Animal Hospital also screens for tick borne diseases that are substantially more prevalent in our area than they had been in the past.
For more information regarding Heartworm/Tick disease testing, contact us at 204-0856.