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Importance of HW and FIV/FeLV Testing in Dogs and Cats

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that affects dogs

and cats alike. Caused by the transmission of microscopic heartworm larvae through the bite of

an infected mosquito, heartworm disease can lead to severe respiratory and cardiovascular

complications if left untreated. Regular heartworm (HW) testing is essential to ensure early

detection and timely intervention. Early detection allows for timely treatment, which can

significantly improve the chances of a successful recovery. Regular testing is essential, as

symptoms of heartworm disease may not appear until the infection has progressed. It can take up to two years to start noticing symptoms of HW in your pet, making treatment more difficult and expensive. Heartworm disease also causes lasting damage to the heart, lungs and arteries, and can affect the dog’s health and quality of life long after the parasites are gone. Therefore,

prevention and regular testing is necessary to ensure treatment can be started as early in the

course of the disease as possible. In cats, heartworm does to have an approved treatment, which

is why it is especially important to have your cats on prevention, even if they are indoor cats.

Heartworm prevention should also be given to dogs because it greatly reduces the risk of your

dog contracting HW disease.


For cats, heartworm is not the only disease we should be routinely testing for. Feline

immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukemia virus (FeLV) are two contagious diseases that

pose significant health risks to cats. These diseases are primarily transmitted between cats

through close contact with infected individuals. FIV weakens the immune system, making cats

more susceptible to infections, while FeLV can lead to various health complications, including

anemia, lymphoma, and immunodeficiency. Regular testing for FIV/FeLV is crucial for early

detection and implementing appropriate management strategies. Identifying infected cats helps in providing them with the necessary medical care and support to maintain their quality of life.

Additionally testing helps ensure that cats entering multi-cat households or shelters are not

carriers, reducing the risk of transmission to healthy cats.


Heartworm testing and FIV/FeLV testing play vital roles in safeguarding the health and

well-being of our dogs and cats. These diagnostics tests not only facilitate early detection and

treatment but also aid in preventing the spread of diseases within the animal populations. Pet

owners and veterinary professionals should prioritize preventative measures and regular testing

to ensure the long-term health of their furry companions.

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