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Heartworm Blood Test

A parasite called Dirofilaria causes heartworm disease in pets. The parasite is long and hair-like and lives in the hearts of infected pets. They spread when an infected mosquito carrying Heartworm larvae bites the pet. The larvae pass on to the pet, enter the bloodstream and settle in the right ventricle of the heart, where they mature into adults. Mature heartworms produce immature larvae called microfilariae, which circulate in the pet’s bloodstream. When a mosquito bites the infected pet, the cycle continues, and the parasite spreads to other pets.

Heartworm disease symptoms are not very evident immediately after infection. However, as the disease progresses, dogs become listless and averse to exercise. If left untreated, it can progress to heart failure.

Since the disease is highly contagious, some countries, including New Zealand, require a Heartworm blood test and treatment before import. A blood sample from the pet is sent to the lab for an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test (ELISA) that detects antigens associated with female heartworms in the sample. If the test comes back positive, your pet needs further treatment and care.

The Heartworm blood test is usually done within 16 days before departure. New Zealand also requires pets to be treated with a product approved for heartworm prevention four days before departure. Alternately, the pet should be up-to-date with a sustained-release injection for heartworm prevention, such as ivermectin, selamectin, moxidectin or milbemycin.

International pet travel is complex; the regulations are often perplexing, especially for first-time flyers. Partnering with an accredited pet travel agency can remove the stress out of your pet’s big move. Petraveller is Australia’s most comprehensive pet travel agency. At Petraveller, we value every pet as a special family member, and we are committed to reuniting you and your pet most safely and comfortably.