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Heartworm & Tick Testing for Dogs

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


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