Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures –  General Practice & Preventative Medicine

WHAT IS A HEARTWORM TEST?

A heartworm test is a blood test designed to check for evidence of the roundworm parasite, Dirofilaria immitis, more commonly known as heartworm. The test should be performed on any cat in which heartworm is suspected. Typically, these are cats showing signs of coughing, dyspnea, vomiting, lethargy, anorexia, and weight loss.

There is no contraindication to performing this test. Normal cats test negative for heartworm. Negative results help rule out the existence of heartworm disease.

WHAT DOES A HEARTWORM TEST REVEAL?

There are two different tests used to check for heartworms in dogs, but only one of these has been found effective in cats.

Microfilaria test: Microfilaria are “heartworm babies.” Screening for them is rarely done in cats because it is often negative even when heartworms are present. The reasons for microfilaria being absent from the bloodstream when adult worms are present include:

·  Only a single heartworm being present (thus no mating of worms is possible).

·  The infection is with either all male or all female worms.

·  The cat’s immune system is actively destroying the microfilaria as they are being produced.
Antigen Testing: Heartworm antigen tests detect antigen derived primarily from mature female worms. Immature infections, low worm burden, male only infection, or sexually immature worms may not produce enough antigen for detection. Also, cats may take a while after infection to develop positive antigens.

How Is a Heartworm Test Done?

Heartworm testing involves drawing a blood sample. The blood is placed immediately in a glass container with a substance that prevents clotting of the sample. The sample is then submitted to a laboratory. The canine heartworm test cannot be used to detect feline heartworm disease. It takes 1 to 2 days to obtain the results of the test.

IS A HEARTWORM TEST PAINFUL?

In order to obtain a blood sample, a needle must be passed through the skin and into a blood vessel. As with humans, the pain associated with venipuncture will vary from individual to individual, but is no more painful than any other injection.

IS SEDATION OR ANESTHESIA NEEDED FOR A HEARTWORM TEST?

Sedation or anesthesia is not needed for a heartworm test.

Dear Valued Clients

During these challenging times, there have been some unforeseen changes at The Big Easy Animal Hospital. I cannot express enough my sincere apology for any inconvenience you have experienced at The Big Easy during these times. As we strive to make the practice safe to protect everyone including you, your family, and our Big Easy team and their families, I’ve decided to make certain changes while we are under this pandemic. These changes will be temporary.

 

Monday through Friday:

Walk Ins start at 10:00am, check-in starts at 9:00am.There are a limited amount of patients we can accept. Our receptionists will be happy to assist you with options to help guide you and your pet(s).)

 

Starting Saturday, August 1st

Saturdays will be TECHNICIAN APPOINTMENTS only. These will include boosters, bloodwork, nail trims, certain diagnostics, etc. There will not be a veterinarian on site. While I understand these changes can be inconvenient, I have listed local veterinary clinics that we have contacted and are open to see walk-ins throughout the week and Saturdays as well. For life threatening emergencies that occur outside business hours, please contact the following 24-hour animal hospitals below.

Please, be safe and healthy.

Thank you all for your understanding. -Aileen Ruiz, DVM

 

24 Hour Emergency Care:

 

Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center

807 Camp Horne Road
Pittsburgh, PA
(412)366-3400

 

AVETS

4224 Northern Pike
Monroeville, PA
(412)373-4200


VCA Castle Shannon Animal Hospital

3610 Library Road
Pittsburgh, PA
(412)885-2500


Veterinarians Accepting Walk in Care:

Penn Animal Hospital

2205 Penn Avenue
(412)471-9855
WALK—IN’S—MONDAY THRU FRIDAY from 10:00 AM – 1:30 PM


North Boros Veterinary Hospital

2255 Babcock Blvd
(412)821-5600
WALK-IN’S—MONDAY THRU FRIDAY from 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM

 

 

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