Description:This ELISA test detects the presence of the adult heartworm parasite (Dirofilaria immitis) in an infected animal. This test requires that a very small quantity of blood be taken from the animal. See page F310 for additional information on heartworm disease.
Diagnostic Value:High, but specific for heartworm disease.
Risks to Patient: Virtually none, provided the blood is collected under sterile conditions by a trained professional.
Relative Cost: Low.
Test Procedure: Two to three drops of blood are mixed with the appropriate amount of the provided conjugate. Once combined, the sample is lightly mixed and then placed on the snap test. The test is then placed on a flat surface and the results are read in 6 minutes.
Interpretation of Results: The test has four colored dots that may appear after the test has been run. Depending on the dots that appear, different results may be interpreted. If only the top dot appears, the test is negative and the dog is considered free of adult heartworms. If either side dot appears darker than the bottom dot, the test is positive and the dog is potentially infected. If the bottom dot appears darker than the rest, the test should be repeated.
Treatment/Prevention: Any dog that has a negative result can be placed on some type of heartworm prevention. An animal testing positive for heartworm disease will require treatment by a veterinarian to eliminate the heartworms. All animals should be tested before any preventative measures are taken.
Note: This is only one of many tests available for the detection of heartworm disease.