Spring has arrived! The temps are rising, the sun is shining, and the mosquitos and ticks have already been spotted hanging around our four-legged friends. You know what that means… time to get your dog tested for Heartworm Disease and start them on their monthly preventative!

The Heartworm test is a core part of Colonial Terrace Animal Hospital’s Canine Wellness Plan. In addition to getting your dog in for an annual physical exam, getting them their vaccines like Rabies, Distemper or DAPP, and Bordetella or Kennel Cough, and bringing in a stool sample to check for intestinal parasites, we recommend getting your dog tested for Heartworm Disease annually and giving them monthly preventative for Heartworm, Fleas, and Ticks.  Heartworm testing is important for the following reasons:

1. The Heartworm preventative we recommend giving your dog on a monthly basis is most safely administered after we know your dog is negative for heartworm.

2. If you have your dog tested once a year for Heartworm disease and give them monthly Heartworm preventive purchased from Colonial Terrace Animal Hospital and your dog STILL gets Heartworm disease, the company that manufacturers the preventative guarantees their product’s efficacy and will cover the very high cost of treatment.

3. We run our Heartworm tests in the clinic, the test we use is called the 4DX Plus test by IDEXX Laboratories. It not only checks for Heartworm disease but also for tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma. We think this is a huge bonus to our clients and patients. With only one small blood sample we can provide them with a lot of information. Sadly, the number of patients contracting Heartworm disease and tick-borne diseases in our area is increasing quickly.  Current statistics provided by IDEXX Laboratories say Dubuque is home to 638 dogs who have Lyme Disease, 22 dogs with Ehrlichia, 23 dogs with Anaplasma, and 25 dogs with Heartworm Disease.  The information this test provides is crucial in our mission to keep our pets living long, healthy lives.

Here is our patient, Diesel! He came in for a technician appointment to have his blood drawn for his 4DX Plus Heartworm test. He was such a good boy for his blood draw! Isn’t he the cutest?

This is an example of the small amount of blood we need to draw from your dog to run the test.

Here is a picture of the machine we use to read our SNAP tests, called the IDEXX Snap Pro. We place 4 drops of your pet’s blood in a tube with 3 drops of the reagent provided, then we place the sample in the test and 10 minutes later we have our results! This test checks for the presence of Heartworm antigen and Lyme, Anaplasma, and Ehrlichia antibodies.

Hooray! Diesel is negative for Heartworm Disease and all 3 tick-borne diseases! Congratulations Diesel!

Please call us soon to schedule your dog’s Heartworm test appointment!

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