You shouldn’t just take your pet to the vet when they get sick. You should be taking preventative measures to make sure they’re always in good health.

The veterinary clinical diagnostics department at your local pet clinic is your first line of defense toward today’s most harmful diseases. They can provide you with a canine heartworm antigen test kit to nip your dog’s condition in the bud before it gets worse. They can determine if your horse is infected with EIAV. They can even provide you with useful tips on spotting certain warning signs and making sure you never have to worry about your pet growing worse right under your nose. Consider marking down a visit on your calendar this year and reap the benefits of a professional diagnosis.

It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your pet’s well-being.

Dogs and cats are the most popular pets in the United States. Recent estimates have found as many as 80 million dogs, as well as 95 million cats, being owned across the country. This doesn’t even cover the amount of strays and unwanted litters that make their way into animal shelters. According to a poll over 60% of dog owners and at least 55% of cat owners will give their pets Christmas presents. The best gift you can give your friend, however, is a veterinary clinical diagnostics exam.

Preventative care measures for your cats and dogs include vaccinations, spaying and neutering. A single fertile cat can have thousands of kittens over the course of a decade. Your dog or cat can also get pregnant by the time they’re five months old. Your animal only needs to be spayed or neutered once, putting both of you in the stress-free position of never having to worry about a surprise pregnancy. A clinical diagnostics laboratory will make sure your puppy or kitten has the vaccinations and proper diet they need to stay healthy at all times. What happens when you start noticing a problem?

Heartworm is one of the most common diseases cats and dogs face. They show different symptoms, however. Where an infected dog will have 30 or more worms in their heart and lungs by the time they start showing symptoms, cats generally have six or fewer. They can even have just one or two. Heartworm treatment can cost an upwards of $1,000 or more, making a monthly preventative bargain a much more affordable — and much less painful — alternative by comparison. A veterinary clinical diagnostics exam can make sure your pet doesn’t have to deal with this disease to begin with.

Your puppy, from seven months of age or less, can be started on a heartworm prevention plan without a test. Keep in mind, however, it takes at least six months for a dog to test positive once it’s been infected. Testing your puppy six months after the initial visit, then another six months later will ensure they’re always heartworm free. Consider taking yearly visits to contract lab services to be on the safe side. The canine heartworm test should always be done with the aid of a professional, rather than relying on word-of-mouth or guesswork. When left unchecked your animal can become severely ill and even require emergency treatment.

One million dogs are diagnosed with this disease every year. A dog infected with heartworm may show a decrease in appetite, unusual lethargy and constant coughing. They can also show significant weight loss and a bulging chest. Your cat, on the other hand, can be a little more tricky. A cat with heartworm will have a hard time walking normally, can experience sudden fainting and have symptoms similar to an asthma attack in humans. Instead of doing a dog heartworm test at home consider dropping by your local pet clinic and asking for a check-up. The worst thing you can do for your pet is hoping for the best.

Your animals love you. Show them how much you appreciate them by applying for a veterinary clinical diagnostics exam this month.

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