White dog and Asian female veterinarian with text "Why Dogs Need To Get Tested Before Starting Heartworm Medicine"

Heartworm is a serious, potentially fatal, health issue for pets. The best medicine is prevention and there are medications to help with that. However, there is one thing to note about seeking preventative treatment. Dogs should be examined for heartworm before starting any medications. Why is that?

The main reason is that, if a dog already has heartworms, preventative medications are not going to help. Adult heartworms are immune to preventative measures. The heartworms will continue to cause internal damage.

Another reason is that if a dog has immature heartworms in its system, putting the dog on preventative medication is dangerous. These immature heartworms, or microfilariae, can be killed suddenly by the medication. This sudden death can send a pet into a shock-like reaction, called anaphylaxis, which may be fatal.

When deciding to pursue heartworm prevention, be sure that your pet is tested for heartworm first. Should heartworm already be present, we can help fight heartworm with the correct treatments.

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