If you own a dog, you know just how loving they can be. Dogs — man’s best friend — can bring the best out of any person, managing to make the most of even the worst days. Whether greeting you at the door after a long day of work or excitedly attempting to meet you while out for a walk with their owner, dogs have this magic ability to bring a smile to the face of nearly any person. It’s no surprise that over 70 million dogs are owned by Americans.
While their hearts are just so big — willing to give love to any and everyone, it can sometimes lead towards problems. This isn’t in the way that a dog might accidentally jump up on someone that’s deathly afraid of dogs, or accidentally letting a group of robbers into your home while you’re not there to stop them, rather, it’s that a lot of dogs are susceptible to heartworm.
Heartworm is a dangerous, sometimes fatal, disease caused by foot-long worms that can live within your pet’s heart, lungs, and blood. These worms, which are often presented and spread by contact with blood, most often transferred by mosquitoes that have come in contact with previously heartworm-affected animals, can cause severe medical conditions such as heart failure, as well as damage to other body parts. Symptoms can be hard to notice, either from the very beginning of contraction or until it becomes quite serious. For that reason, there are well-tested veterinary diagnostics that can be utilized to test whether or not your pet might be suffering from heartworm disease.
Veterinary diagnostics, otherwise known as veterinary laboratory services or contract lab services, can effectively test your animal for heartworm through their canine heartworm test. This heartworm antigen test kit is used to test animals blood for antigens post-infection. There are some guidelines as to when your dog’s should be tested through veterinary diagnostics, and, for utmost safety, most times it should come before infection has even taken place:
- Puppies under the age of 7 months can be given preventative medicine before being treated, as a precaution, but they should be tested for heartworm 6 months after having starting their heartworm prevention medicine
- Adult dogs over the age of 7 months should be given a heartworm test before starting prevention, that is, if they have yet to take preventative medicine before that time
- You dog’s veterinarian will have the best recommendation as to what you should give your dog regarding veterinary diagnostics (heartworm preventative medicine and the heartworm test kit). However, your dog should regularly be checked, simply to be safe
Prevention through veterinary diagnostics is the best method you have in ensuring your dog’s health (as well as saving yourself money). With one million dogs getting heartworm in the U.S. each year, there’s a lot of the disease to go around, and considering that treatment can cost $1,000 is rather nerve-wracking. Better to protect your financial well-being and your dog’s health before things take a turn for the worse.