Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Cookie's Annual Heartworm and Tick-Borne Diseases Test

The American Heartworm Society recommends annual heartworm testing for all dogs. This makes perfect sense to me, and I would do it even without such recommendation. When I called to make the appointment I was surprised to be told that Cookie had the test last year and I didn't have to do it this year if I didn't want to. Either way, I wanted to.


Heartworm is the last thing I want to be taking any chances with.


I give heartworm preventive religiously, year-round. For those who might wonder why year-round, I can tell you that we've been finding mosquitoes in the house throughout the winter, even on days when it was -20 outside. Yeah, I was shocked too.

That aside, any day when temperatures outside got milder, you could see the odd mosquito buzzing around. I agree that it is pretty crazy, but it's no word of a lie.

All it takes is one bite from one mosquito.


With a bit of bad luck, one bite from one mosquito is all it takes for a dog to get infected.

Unlike with many other things, heartworm prevention is a no-brainer. With some other diseases, trying to decide which is the lesser of the evil can be hard. With heartworm, it is easy. Heartworm infection is the worse of the evil hands down.

We use HEARTGARD® Plus.


Interestingly, we have to make a special order for this, because all other clients at our vet clinic use something else now. If I remember correctly, they are using a combination of Frontline and one other product I don't remember.

Many preventive products out there aim to address more than one problem at once. But that often makes them better doing one job than the other. We opted for a product which had the best track record for heartworm protection.

While I would love to have one safe product to address heartworm and tick and everything else under the sun, having something that our dogs always tolerated without problems and I can reasonably trust to prevent heartworm is good enough for me.

I always get a bit nervous waiting for the results.

I am very happy that Cookie's heartworm test was negative.


Sometimes we test for tick-borne diseases, and sometimes we don't. This time we did because of all the ticks we kept finding on Cookie last fall.

With tick preventives, I don't see the choice as clear-cut. The disease they transmit are bacterial and, at least theoretically, treatable with antibiotics. That weighs against the fact that Cookie had a major reaction to Advantix when we tried using it on her.

After much deliberation and research of available options, we decided to go with natural options, at least for now.

Cookie tested negative for tick-borne diseases also.



Our clinic does in-house testing, which is quite convenient. They use the SNAP 4Dx Plus Test.

The one test screens for heartworm, Lyme disease, Ehrlichia and anaplasma. So for now, we can relax a bit; Cookie hasn't contracted any of the vector-borne diseases that are common around here.

We will, naturally keep up with the heartworm preventive and monitoring the tick situation. So far, this year, we haven't found any on Cookie.

Do you test your dog annually for vector-borne diseases?


Related articles:
From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
And So It Begins Again(?) Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie 
I Didn't Know I Could Fly: Why Cookie Wears A Harness Instead Of A Collar
C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews For Dogs CAN Be A Choking Hazzard 
Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie: The Knee Or The Foot?
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Too Young For Pot: Cookie's Snack With A Side Of Hydrogen Peroxide  
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
Putting The Easy Back Into Walking
Cookie's Ears Are Still Not Happy 
The Threat Of The Bulge Is Always Lurking 
Today Is Cookie's Three-Months Adoptoversary  
Cookie Meets The Electric Horse Fence And Her First Chiropractic Adjustment  
Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit? 
Why Is That Leg Still Not Happy? Cookie's Leg Keeps Getting Sore 
Cookie Too Is Insured With Trupanion
Does Being Insured Mean Being Covered? Our First Claim With Trupanion
Is Cookie's Leg Finally Getting Better?
Is Cookie Going To Be Another Medical Challenge Or Are We Looking Too Closely? 
The Project That Is Cookie: Pancreatitis Up Close And Personal  
Pancreatitis: Cookie’s Blood Work   
Another Belly Upset: Pancreatitis Again Or Not?  
Happy Birthday, Cookie 
Incontinence? Cookie's Mysterious Leaks 
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat 
Don't Just Stand There, Do Something? Cookie's Mysterious Bumps 
Cookie's Mysterious Bumps Update
One Vomit, No Vomit 
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie!
Cookie's Leaks Are Back: Garden Variety Incontinence Or Not?
Cookie's Leaks Update 
Don't Panic, Don't Panic: Know What Your Job Is 
The Continuing Saga Of Cookie's Leeks: Trying Chiropractic Approach 
Cookie's Minor Eye Irritation
Regular Wellness Exam: Cookie's ALT Was Elevated 
Cookie's Plantar Paw Pad Injury 
How Far To Take It When The Dog Isn't Sick?
Cookie Has Tapeworm Infection 
Cookie's Elevated ALT: The Ultrasound and Cytology  
Cookie's ALT Update
The Importance of Observation: Cookie's Chiropractic Adjustment
Sometimes You Don't Even Know What You're Looking at: Cookie's Scary "We Have No Idea What that Was" 
Living with an Incontinent Dog 
Summer Dangers: Cookie Gets Stung by a Bald-faced Hornet 
To Breathe or Not To Breathe: Cookie's Hind Legs Transiently Fail to Work (Again)
Figuring out What Might Be Going on with Cookie's Legs: The Process 
Figuring out What Might Be Going on with Cookie's Legs: The Diagnosis 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Trazodone  
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Other Medications 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Laser, Hydrotherapy, and Chiropractic 
Cookie's Recovery from Iliopsoas Injury: ToeGrips 
It Never Rains ... Cookie's New Injury 
Mixed Emotions: When What You Should Do Might Not Be What You Should Do for Your Dog 
Cookie's New Injury Update 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury: The Symptoms 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury: Battling the Zoomies 
Cookie's Muscle Injuries: What Else Is Going On?
Theory and Actual Decisions for an Actual Dog Aren't the Same Thing: Cookie's Knee Injury
Does Your Vet Listen to You? Cookie's Post-Sedation Complications
Would I Ever Treat a Symptom Directly? 
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment for Cookie's Bad Knee(s)
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) for Cookie's Bad Cruciate Update 
Injury or Surgery Recovery: Mishaps versus Setbacks 
See Something, Do Something: Cookie's Lumpectomy 
Cookie's Lumpectomy Update 
Using Pressure Pads to Evaluate Lameness in Dogs: My Observations
Cookie's Musculoskeletal Challenges: What Supplements Am I Using?
Cookie's Musculoskeletal Challenges: Restricted Activity and Weight Management
Cookie's PRP Treatment for Partial Cruciate Tear: Update
Has Your Dog's Physical Therapist Taken Dog Training Classes? 
Cookie's PRP Treatment for Partial Cruciate Tear Update and Considering the Future
Cookie's PRP Treatment for Partial Cruciate (CCL/ACL) Tear and Leg Circumference
Cookie's Wellness Exam
Ticked Off at the Tick Situation: What Do You Use for Tick Prevention?
Ticked Off at the Tick Situation: The Verdict Is In (for Now)



Do you have a story to share?

Your story can help others, maybe even save a life!


What were the first signs you noticed? How did your dog get diagnosed? What treatment did/didn't work for you? What was your experience with your vet(s)? How did you cope with the challenges?

Email me, I'll be happy to hear from you.




Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog now available in paperback and Kindle. Each chapter includes notes on when it is an emergency.

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