Yearly Heartworm Test: What Pet Owners Should Know

Yearly Heartworm Test

Why do veterinarians recommend a yearly heartworm test?

Great question!

Clients ask me this question all the time.

Is it to make money? No!

Here are a couple of reasons why I recommend a yearly heartworm test:


Giving preventive medication to dogs infected with heartworms can lead to a rare but possibly fatal reaction in your dog.  I have never seen this type of reaction in my practice; however, I am aware of other veterinarians who have. Most of the time these dogs either die or incur a host of medical issues, pain, and suffering. The test ensures safety.


Many of us do not take our own medications as directed! Why would we expect anything different out of our pet? Sometimes, we’re busy, forget, or just miss a dose. Testing is the surest way to monitor compliance. Even if you never miss a dose, nothing prevents your dog from vomiting the medication. A yearly heartworm test monitors compliance.

Early Detection

A yearly heartworm test allows for earlier diagnosis of infection. Early diagnosis and treatment give veterinarians the best chance to cure your pet.  We can institute treatment before irreversible heart and lung damage occur. Early detection and treatment are best with a yearly heartworm test. When considering all the reasons, this reason is the best argument for yearly heartworm testing. Why? All preventives are NOT 100% effective 100% of the time!


Most reputable drug companies guarantee their heartworm preventives. In cases where dogs become infected while on a preventive, drug companies often provide funds to pay for treatment.  Drug companies will often pay for the entire treatment. This guarantee will be honored as long as the client can document a yearly heartworm test and purchase of yearly heartworm preventive.

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