Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Protecting your dog with this important simple test - 4DX

Each year we tout the importance of checking your dog for Heartworm and preventing this deadly disease through Heartworm preventatives monthly.   This year at Warren Woods Veterinary Hospital we have already diagnosed two dogs with Heartworm disease so we know that the disease is present in our area.  In order to do the best for our patients, we have added a new test called 4DX to our Heartworm prevention arsenal.

Our diagnostic laboratory, Idexx offers the 4DX test that not only checks for Heartworm disease, but also for three other tick borne diseases, and it can be done with the same tiny blood sample that your dog gives us for the routine Heartworm test.  The four diseases that it tests for are:
  1. Heartworm
  2. Ehrlichiosis
  3. Lyme 
  4. Anaplasmosis
Heartworm disease is caused by the parasitic worm Dirofilaria immitis. These parasites are transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito and grow in the heart of infected dogs.  These worms can cause permanent damage to dogs' heart and lungs. 
Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis are known as tick-borne diseases because they are transmitted when ticks bite and feed on pets. Because ticks can carry more than one of these diseases, infection with these diseases can occur at the same time in the same dog.  Signs can include fever, lethargy, and lameness. Research has shown that if a dog is infected with more than one of these tick-borne diseases at the same time, the likelihood of developing clinical signs is increased.
A vaccine is available to aid in preventing Lyme disease, but there are currently no vaccines to protect dogs from ehrlichiosis or anaplasmosis. Appropriate tick control methods combined with periodic testing may be the best ways to help protect dogs from these tick-borne infections.

If you have any questions about the 4DX test, or anything else concerning your pets, please call the Warren Woods Veterinary Hospital team at 586-751-3350. Have a great summer and don't forget to give your dog it's heartworm and flea/tick preventatives. 

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