Heartworm Testing

At St. Francis Hospital for Animals, we recommend annual testing for heartworms as well as a preventive treatment program. We can test for the presence of heartworms quickly, easily and economically. Heartworm disease is a serious, progressive illness, however, the earlier it is detected, the better the chances that your pet will recover.

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition that can affect indoor and outdoor companion pets. Heartworm larvae are transmitted to healthy animals by mosquitoes that have bitten infected animals. Heartworms exist in all 50 states, but they are most prevalent in warm climates with stable bodies of water. This means that companion pet owners in the southwestern region of North Carolina, including the communities of Charlotte, Pineville, Matthews, and Indian Trail need to protect their pets year round with preventive heartworm treatment.

Without the protection provided by a preventive treatment program, heartworms can enter your pet’s bloodstream, settle in the heart chambers, and grow up to 12 inches in length. They spread to the large arteries of the body and affect your pet's cardiovascular health. There are few, if any, early signs of heartworm disease in dogs and cats. Heartworm positive dogs will eventually experience difficulty breathing and decreased physical activity.

If your dog’s test results come back negative, then our veterinarians will start your dog on a preventive treatment that you will need to administer year-round for the rest of the animal’s life. These preventive medications come in several forms, including topical applications and tasty treats.

Cats should be put on a preventive treatment and tested as recommended by our veterinarians. Cats are not a natural host for heartworms, however, just a few can make a cat very sick. Prevention in cats is critical because there is no approved drug treatment for heartworm infection in cats. If your cat tests positive for heartworms, they can be helped with good veterinary care and a long-term management plan.



If you haven’t had your companion pet tested for heartworms, schedule an appointment today at St. Francis Hospital for Animals. Our doctors and staff will work with you to determine the best heartworm preventative based on your pet’s individual lifestyle.