Heartworm Testing

Heartworm, or Dirofilaria immitis, is a harmful parasite that affects more and more animals in Québec each year. Heartworm infection is extremely serious since the parasites enter the heart and blood stream. Your pet can get infected with heartworm from a single mosquito bite.

Prevention is easy. Your pet can receive an effective monthly preventative treatment during the warmer months, from June to November, and an annual blood test during their yearly visit to the vet.

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What are the symptoms of heartworm disease?

As the worms inside the animal grow and multiply, the symptoms will get worse, and the animal’s heart will struggle to function normally. You might notice an unusual cough, difficulty breathing, lower tolerance for physical activity, fatigue and significant weight loss.

Since the most infected animals don’t show symptoms until the advanced stages of the disease, treatment is more complex, challenging and expensive than prevention. In the worst cases, death is inevitable.

Why does my pet need to be tested every year before they start their preventative treatment?

If your pet already has heartworms, preventative treatment could cause serious side effects. We always carry out a blood test before prescribing preventative treatment to be sure your pet has not already been infected. We then analyze the test in our on-site lab and quickly process the results.

When is the best time to start preventative heartworm treatment?

We recommend beginning preventative treatment in late spring, around June 1st. Treatment should be repeated every month until November.

Can cats get infected with heartworm disease too?

Heartworm is less frequent in cats, but they can still become infected. However, worms live longer and multiply less in cats, meaning that felines are more heartworm-resistant.

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