Each year starting April 15th we begin drawing blood samples from dogs 6 months of age or older. With the antigen test that we use we are actually looking for the presence of adult heartworms that your dog may have picked up the previous year. Heartworms need to be at least 6 months old for our test to detect them. The test also screens for exposure to 4 different tick-borne diseases., the most well known being Lyme disease. We use Idexx’s Snap 4DX Plus test and each dog is tested individually, usually while you wait. All we need is 3 drops of blood and 10 minutes.
Heartworm is an insidious disease that is spread by mosquitoes that carry the heartworm larvae. It can take upwards of 3-5 years for your dog to show any symptoms of the disease.
We’ve had a few dogs this year that have tested positive for tick-borne diseases, and one dog that has tested positive for heartworm disease. Heartworm is very serious in our area, with pockets of it all along the Grand River all the way to Lake Erie. Heartworm disease can be easily prevented, but treatment for a positive dog can be very expensive and just as dangerous to the health of the dog as the disease itself. Untreated dogs will eventually succumb to the disease, as it will progress to pulmonary and cardiac failure.
If you have any questions about heartworm, or tick borne diseases such as Lyme, please let us know.