Spring has almost sprung…get your dog’s heartworm & tick testing done!
The scoop on 4DX testing
What is a 4DX test?
- A simple blood test to check for heartworm disease and 3 tick-transmitted pathogens (Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis & anaplasmosis)
Heartworm disease is caused by long, hair-like worms called Dirofilaria immitis which are spread by infected mosquitos. These worms cause disease by clogging up the heart & blood vessels leading to the heart
Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi which is carried & spread by the deer tick (black-legged tick). It can cause lameness and kidney failure
Ehrlichiosis is caused by a rickettsial organism Ehrlichia canis which is spread by ticks & could cause anemia, lameness and neurological issues
Anaplasmosis is caused by a bacterial organism Anaplasma phagocytophilium which is spread by ticks & could cause lameness, fever and lethargy
How is a 4DX test performed?
- A small blood sample is taken and is sent out to a laboratory for testing
When should a 4DX test be done?
- It is recommended that a 4DX test be done every spring
What are tick & heartworm prevention options?
- As of present, there is no full coverage “all in one” prevention option and therefore you will need to give your dog separate heartworm & tick preventions
- Available in tablet and topical forms
- Most preventions are given once a month
- Most preventions also protect against fleas & internal parasites
- Make an appointment with your veterinary team to discuss the right preventions for your individual pet
What if I miss a dose of prevention?
- Missing just 1 dose of monthly prevention (or giving it significantly late) could leave your pet unprotected and at risk
Does my dog really need to be heartworm tested every year?
- We highly recommend yearly testing
- Although current preventions are highly effective, no medication is 100%. We want to ensure the prevention is working for your dog
- To ensure heartworm strains are not growing resistant to current preventions, yearly testing is recommended
Written by Melanie Hargot