We recommend doing an annual heartworm test on all dogs. The heartworm tests that we use are called SNAP tests which test for antigens to heartworm and three tick-borne diseases- we can run this test in about 10 minutes with a few drops of blood.
Even if your dog is on heartworm preventative year-round, a heartworm test is still a good idea as part of their annual checkup. Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitoes, and is a very serious and often fatal condition. Annual testing ensures that we are catching any infections early and that it is safe for your dog to stay on preventatives. The test we perform at East Towne Pet Clinic also checks for three tick-borne infections (Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis.)
Tick-borne infections are becoming increasingly common. This map shows the number of cases of vector-borne disease locally. Zoom into WI, and you can see that we've been diagnosing tick-borne diseases much more frequently than we actually diagnose heartworm disease! The test is sensitive enough to pick up infections that may be sub-clinical (that is, your dog isn't showing any symptoms) allowing us to manage any infection to prevent problems down the road. Please give our office a call at 608-241-1000, if you have any questions about our recommendations or services.
For more information on the infections we test for, follow these links: