One of our most frequently utilized in-house tests is the extremely convenient in-hospital heartworm and tickborne-diseases test, often performed using a either “SNAP 4DX” or a Flex-4″ test. These tests use only 2-3 drops of your pet’s blood and takes only 8 minutes to test your pet for Heartworm Disease, Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis. We highly recommend and offer to run this test on all canine patients at their annual checkup. Typically, the veterinary technician who obtains your pet’s history will also draw the small blood sample and run the test so that you know your pet’s results before the end of your appointment.
This test checks your pet for Heartworm antigen (used to diagnose Heartworm Disease) and tells us if your pet has been exposed to and is producing antibodies to 5 different tick-borne diseases: Lyme Disease, 2 types of Ehrlichiosis, and 2 types of Anaplasmosis.
Heartworm Disease is a dangerous disease spread easily by mosquitoes; we take testing and prevention seriously! Every dog should receive heartworm prevention, whether it be a monthly oral chew or liquid applied onto the skin, or the 6-month preventative injection. Any dog who has not been taking heartworm prevention regularly should be tested, especially before beginning a heartworm preventative. Dogs who are having trouble breathing, have exercise intolerance, and/or have a persistent cough may be carriers of heartworm disease. The 4Dx test is a simple and fast way to check your dog.
Montgomery County, MD is situated in the region of the US which experiences the HIGHEST incidence of Lyme Disease cases, both human and dog. Some of the more minor yet debilitating effects of Lyme disease in dogs include joint pain, lameness, fever, and appetite loss, although dogs can be asymptomatic for the disease. Unfortunately, a small number of dogs experience much more severe responses to Lyme Disease, including kidney failure and even death. Luckily, regular use of tick preventatives as well as vaccinating against Lyme disease can help prevent this disease from being transmitted to your pet. Lyme Disease can cause serious problems for humans as well, and because dogs exposed to Lyme Disease can also transport infected ticks into your home, we recommend that year-round tick preventatives be used on your pet. If you think your pet has been bitten by a tick and want to test your pet, we recommend waiting six months for a positive confirmation. Testing your pet earlier may result in a false negative.
Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis
Both the Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis bacterial organisms are spread by ticks and can infect dogs bitten by ticks. Signs of Anaplasmosis are similar to those of Lyme disease; but in addition to joint pain/swelling and appetite loss your pet may also experience vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory problems, and even seizures or bleeding/clotting disorders. Pets with Ehrlichiosis can also show these symptoms as well as a vast host of signs including edema, enlargement of the lymph nodes, increased drinking/urination, vasculitis, and eye disorders that can cause blindness. In some cases both diseases can be fatal. Prompt diagnosis of these diseases allows us to quickly begin treatment with the antibiotic Doxycycline, which can be very effective for Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis.