Heartworm Season 2020 – Information and Appointment Expectations
In Southwestern Ontario the ideal time to begin heartworm prevention medication (for those who use prevention) is on June 1st. The reason for this is based on the lifecycle and transmission of heartworm in our climate. In optimal circumstances heartworm testing is performed between April 15th and June 1st, always prior to beginning prevention medication. With June 1st right around the corner, we recognize that not everyone will be able to have testing performed by the target date, but the goal is to come as close as possible.
To help facilitate this we will be prioritizing all urgent care and illness appointments, along with heartworm testing appointments over wellness exam appointments for the next few weeks. For many, this will mean that the heartworm test appointment will be on a separate day from the wellness exam appointment. We anticipate that annual wellness appointments for healthy pets will not begin until late June, however this will be based on how quickly we can address all the immediate patient needs that will come with re-opening post-pandemic. There will be some limited annual wellness exam appointments during this time frame, but not many.
Heartworm testing only appointments are available on Tuesday mornings and Thursday and Friday afternoons. To further aid in getting through the large volume of tests a few of our very hard working staff have generously offered to give more of their time and run heartworm clinics on a couple of Saturdays in May. If your pet has urgent health, please let us know as soon as possible. We will aim to prioritize combining exams with this year’s heartworm testing appointment wherever possible.
During your Heartworm appointment you will be charged for the blood collection, blood profile and any preventative medications you are taking with you. As many of you are aware, our annual wellness exam package includes a complimentary blood collection (and a complementary fecal exam). A credit for blood collection fees may be applied to your account if your pet’s annual wellness exam is performed by August 15/2020
When you contact us to you book your heartworm appointment, we will ask you a series of questions that include:
- Are looking for an annual wellness exam plus heartworm testing OR just heartworm testing?
- If you are looking for an annual exam too, the annual wellness exam portion will be booked separately from your heartworm testing appointment.
- Are you planning to use heartworm prevention medication or not?
- If not, your heartworm testing appointment will be booked after June 15th.
- If you’ve used prevention medications in the past you will be asked if you’d like to use the same medication this year?
- Were you planning to titer test your pet this year?
- If yes, to reduce the number of blood draws on your pet consider performing titer testing and heartworm testing at the same time.
Once scheduled, we will send you a follow up email that contains information about heartworm disease, Lyme disease, prevention options and their pricing, as well as wellness bloodwork options and associated pricing. This way you can take some time to educate yourself, make informed decisions and also choose your prevention product prior to the appointment. This email will also have a brief questionnaire necessary for you to complete no later than 2 days before your scheduled appointment and will also highlight what to expect on your appointment day.
We do feel that yearly testing is the best thing to do for our pets because we want to find out if they have heartworm infection before it becomes a disease. We also know that if our pets have been given their heartworm preventions appropriately last year, the risk of contracting heartworm should be very low. If you have been negatively impacted financially by the pandemic and are unsure of what the best options are for your budget please let us know. We are here to support you. Let’s discuss the options and find a solution together.