What is a heartworm test?
There are two main tests a veterinarian can perform to detect heartworm infection:
- An antigen test that can detect antigens, specific heartworm proteins released into the animal’s bloodstream by adult female heartworms. The earliest that these proteins can be detected is approximately five months after the pet is bitten by an infected mosquito.
- Another test detects microfilariae in a pet’s bloodstream which indicates that the animal is infected with adult heartworms. The earliest that microfilariae can be detected is about six months after the dog is bitten by an infected mosquito.
How does heartworm testing work?
Heartworm prevention is something you should definitely take into consideration when it comes to your pet’s health, and getting a pet insurance policy that provides some coverage is a great way to make sure your four-legged companion is protected.
Heartworm preventatives and diagnostic tests are included in most wellness plans offered by pet insurance companies. Pet parents can either buy a wellness plan separately or add one to their policy coverage, depending on the provider.
Average cost for heartworm test
If your pet is infected with the disease, the total vet cost could range from $400 to $1,000 for the diagnostic tests, imaging (such as heart ultrasound and chest x-rays), injections, and hospitalization. In severe cases, in which the parasites require surgical extraction, the cost might reach $4,000.
Because heartworm disease can be so expensive and potentially fatal for the animal, many pet parents opt for policies that cover heartworm testing and treatment.