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How to Diagnosis Heartworm Disease in Dogs | VETgirl Veterinary CE Blog

In this VETgirl online veterinary CE blog, we demonstrate how to diagnose heartworm disease in a dog. This dog presented in severe anaphylactic shock after receiving heartworm preventative. Heartworm disease is a disease caused by the infestation of Dirofilaria immitis. In this video, we demonstrate three ways of how to diagnose heartworm disease:

  • by echocardiography, where you can see the heartworms directly
  • by easily checking out a spun-down hematocrit tube for some microfilaria fun
  • by evaluation of a blood smear.

Depending on how long the infestation has occurred, the number of worms, and the host response, heartworm disease can potentially be life-threatening. Not only does it result in endothelial injury and predispose towards a hypercoagulable state, but it also results in  pulmonary thromboembolism, pulmonary hypertension, eosinophilic granulomatosis, myocardial hypertrophy (secondary to pulmonary hypertension), and potentially congestive heart failure. Immune-complex disease with in the kidneys (e.g., glomerulonephritis) can also be seen. And... yet another reason why preventive medicine is so important!

Interested in learning more? Check out VETgirl ELITE, a subscription-based podcast, webinar & video service where you get over 24+ hours of RACE-approved online veterinary CE a year!

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