Feb. 06, 2023
A veterinarian uses blood tests to check a dog for heartworms. An antigen test detects specific heartworm proteins, called antigens, which are released by adult female heartworms into the dog’s bloodstream. In most cases, antigen tests can accurately detect infections with one or more adult female heartworms. The earliest that the heartworm proteins can be detected in a dog’s bloodstream is about 5 months after it is bitten by an infected mosquito.
Another test detects microfilariae in a dog’s bloodstream. Microfilariae in the bloodstream indicate that the dog is infected with adult heartworms (because only adult heartworms can mate and produce microfilariae). The earliest that microfilariae can be detected in a dog’s bloodstream is about 6 months after it is bitten by an infected mosquito (because it takes about that long for the heartworms to develop from infective larvae into adults that mate and produce microfilariae).
Source from FDA
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