PetSmart Heartworm Test

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition that affects dogs and cats. It is caused by a parasitic worm called Dirofilaria immitis, which is transmitted by mosquitoes. If left untreated, heartworm disease can cause severe damage to the heart and lungs, leading to heart failure and death.

One of the best ways to protect your pet from heartworm disease is by getting them tested regularly. PetSmart offers a variety of heartworm tests that can help you determine if your pet has been infected. In this blog post, we will go over the different types of heartworm tests that PetSmart offers and explain how they work.

How much does a heartworm test usually cost?

The cost of a heartworm test can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the type of test used, and the location of the vet clinic.

One type of heartworm test is an antigen test, which detects the presence of heartworm antigens (proteins) in the animal’s blood. These tests are relatively quick and easy to perform, and can usually be done in-house at a vet clinic. The cost of an antigen test can range from around $20 to $50.

Another type of heartworm test is a microfilaria test, which looks for the presence of immature heartworms (microfilaria) in the animal’s blood. These tests are generally more sensitive than antigen tests, but they are also more expensive and may need to be sent to a lab for analysis. The cost of a microfilaria test can range from around $50 to $100.

Heartworm testing should be done annually as part of a pet’s routine preventative care, and veterinarians may offer a package deal for heartworm tests and preventatives together.

Antigen Test

The antigen test is the most common type of heartworm test available at PetSmart. This test detects the presence of a protein found in adult heartworms. It is a simple blood test that can be done in-store and the results are usually available within a few minutes.

Microfilaria Test

The microfilaria test is another option available at PetSmart. This test looks for the presence of baby heartworms, called microfilariae, in the blood. The test is done using a blood sample and the results are usually available within a few days.

PCR Test

The PCR test is a more advanced test that can detect the DNA of heartworm larvae in the blood. This test is useful for detecting early stages of heartworm infection before adult worms have developed. The test is done using a blood sample and the results are usually available within a few days.

Snap Test

The snap test is a combination test that detects the presence of adult heartworms and microfilariae in one test. This test is done using a blood sample and the results are usually available within a few minutes.

Can I test my dog for heartworms at home?

The only way to diagnose heartworm disease is through a blood test, which can be done by a veterinarian. However, there are now at-home test kits available for pet owners to use.

The at-home test kits are designed to detect the presence of heartworm antigens in a dog’s blood. These antigens are proteins produced by adult heartworms and can be found in the blood of infected dogs. The test is relatively simple to administer and requires only a small blood sample, which can be collected using a fingerstick or a small blood draw.

The results of the test will usually be available within a few minutes and will indicate whether or not heartworm antigens are present in the dog’s blood. If the test is positive, it is important to seek immediate veterinary care. The dog will need to be treated to eliminate the heartworms and prevent further damage to their health.

An at-home test kit cannot diagnose heartworm disease in its early stages. The antigens produced by adult heartworms may not be detectable until several months after infection. Therefore, it is recommended to have a veterinarian run a heartworm test and to use the at-home test as a screening tool.

How can I tell if my dog has heartworms?

One of the most common signs of heartworm disease in dogs is a persistent cough. This is caused by the worms blocking the blood vessels in the lungs, making it difficult for the dog to breathe. Other symptoms of heartworm disease include fatigue, weight loss, and decreased appetite. In advanced cases, dogs may have difficulty breathing and may even collapse.

Another way to detect heartworm disease in dogs is through a blood test. This test detects the presence of a protein produced by the worms, called antigens. A positive test result indicates that the dog has heartworms. However, it is important to note that a negative test result does not necessarily mean that the dog is free of heartworms. It may take several months for the antigens to appear in the blood after the dog has been infected.

Some dogs may be infected with heartworms but show no signs or symptoms. This is called a subclinical infection. These dogs may only be detected through a blood test.

Best heartworm medicine for dogs

There are several types of heartworm preventatives available on the market, including topical treatments, oral tablets, and injections. The best heartworm medicine for dogs will depend on the individual dog and their lifestyle. Below is a list of some of the most popular and effective heartworm preventatives for dogs.

  1. Ivermectin (Heartgard Plus)
  2. Milbemycin (Interceptor Plus)
  3. Moxidectin (ProHeart 6)
  4. Selamectin (Revolution)
  5. Pyrantel Pamoate (Nemex 2)

These medications are preventatives and will not treat an existing heartworm infection. If a dog tests positive for heartworm, they will need to undergo a treatment protocol under the guidance of a veterinarian. It is important to consult with a veterinarian before starting any heartworm preventative medication to ensure that it is the right choice for the individual dog.

Natural heartworm prevention for dogs

One popular natural remedy for heartworm prevention is the use of essential oils. Certain oils, such as clove, cinnamon, and eucalyptus, have been shown to repel mosquitoes and other insects. These oils can be added to a dog’s collar, or applied to the skin in a diluted form. Another option is to use a natural insect repellent spray containing these oils.

Another natural preventative measure is the use of herbs and supplements. Garlic is a well-known herb that is known to have anti-parasitic properties and is also a natural repellent for mosquitoes. Other herbs that can be used include wormwood and black walnut. Supplements such as vitamin B1 and vitamin C can also be beneficial in preventing heartworm.

Another way to prevent heartworm is to keep a clean and healthy environment for your dog. This includes regular cleaning of the yard and surrounding areas, as well as keeping standing water sources, such as bird baths and ponds, clean and free of mosquitoes. Additionally, keeping the dog indoors during peak mosquito hours, typically in the early morning and evening, can also help to prevent exposure to the disease.

While natural remedies and preventative measures can be effective, they should not replace regular heartworm testing and treatment prescribed by a veterinarian. In order to ensure the best possible health for your dog, it is essential to consult with a veterinarian and follow their recommended treatment plan.

Conclusion

While these tests can provide valuable information, they are not 100% accurate. A positive test result indicates that your pet is infected with heartworms, but a negative test result does not necessarily mean your pet is free of heartworms. In cases where the test results are inconclusive, your veterinarian may recommend further testing or a treatment plan.

If your pet tests positive for heartworm, it is important to start treatment right away. Heartworm treatment can be costly and time-consuming, but it is the best way to protect your pet’s health and prevent further damage to the heart and lungs.

To prevent heartworm disease, PetSmart also provides a variety of heartworm preventives such as chewable tablets, topical solutions, and even injections. PetSmart’s veterinarian team is always ready to assist pet owners in finding the best prevention option for their pets.

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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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