Heartworm & Tick Test
This checks for heartworms and three tick diseases (Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, and Ehrlichiosis). Heartworm is a very painful and deadly in dogs if not treated. Symptoms we see are coughing and lethargy. It is a lot more cost effective to keep the dog on yearly heartworm prevention then it is to treat the dog for heartworm disease.
This test should be done when the dog is at 1 year of age if they have been on heartworm prevention since they were a puppy. If they have not been on heartworm prevention as a puppy, it should be done at 6 months of age. Heartworms will NOT show up on test until 6 months after exposure to them because the test can only check for adult heartworms.
"Annual testing is necessary, even with pets are on prevention year-round to ensure the program is working. Heartworm preventatives are highly effective, but not 100% effective." -American Heartworm Society. Because of this, most manufacturers guarantee their product and will pay for treatment if a pet does get heartworm disease while on prevention, provided the pet had a heartworm test every year.
Therefore, yearly heartworm tests are required for surgeries and to purchase heartworm prevention. If the dog has not been on yearly heartworm prevention, we recommend retesting them 6 months after their last month of potential exposure. So if they were not on heartworm prevention from December to February, we recommend testing 6 months after February so in August.