Description:This immunoassay test detects antibodies to heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) in an infected cat. This test requires that a very small quantity of blood be taken from the cat. 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: Three drops of blood, serum, or plasma are placed in the round sample well using the provided pipette. The test is then set on a flat surface and the results are read in 5 minutes for plasma/serum, or 10 minutes for whole blood.
Interpretation of Results: For a valid test, a blue control line (C) must appear. A second red test line (T) will appear if the test is positive and the cat is potentially infected with heartworm. If no red line appears, the test is negative and the cat is considered free of adult heartworms.
Treatment/Prevention: Any cat that has a negative result can be placed on 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.