• Home
  • A Surprise Diagnosis: Lyme Disease & Heartworm Testing

A Surprise Diagnosis: Lyme Disease & Heartworm Testing

 “Honey’s blood test came back positive for Lyme,” the veterinarian explained. Honey, the sweet golden retriever, had visited the clinic that day for a quick blood test, just as she’d done every spring.

As always, her veterinarian had wanted to ensure she was heartworm-negative prior to starting her annual heartworm prevention on June 1st. As a precaution, the blood test would not only screen for heartworm, but for three tick-borne diseases as well.

The appointment had started splendidly! The skilled veterinary technician had drawn blood while her assistant gave Honey Cheese Whiz on a licky mat to distract her from the quick poke. Then, the assistant had used a few drops of blood to run the test in the in-house lab. Within minutes, a blue dot had appeared on the test strip. Its positioning indicated Honey’s blood contained antibodies to “borrelia burgdorferi” bacteria.

In English? Honey was negative for heartworm – but she likely had Lyme disease.

“How could this be?,” the family wondered. They knew that Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks, but Honey had (very happily) consumed all six monthly doses of parasite prevention last summer!

The veterinarian explained, “We know from her blood test today that those six doses of parasite prevention successfully protected her against heartworm last year. You likely also protected Honey from ticks during the months when tick populations are highest. However, unfortunately, ticks in Southern Ontario are active during the winter as well.

“But the good news is that we likely caught the infection early with her annual blood work! Now we can determine a treatment plan to keep her pain-free.”

“What should we do this year?” the family asked.

“Going forward, I recommend giving parasite prevention to all your furry family members every month,” the veterinarian advised. “Heartworm is only a risk from June to November, but ticks transmit Lyme – and other diseases – twelve months of the year.”

Honey’s family left the clinic with twelve months of parasite prevention and a follow-up appointment booked. They knew that they’d have to do more in-depth bloodwork and monitor Honey closely going forward, but they were happy to do it to keep Honey comfortable.

As for Honey, her biggest concern was licking leftover Cheese Whiz from her lips… and everyone agreed to keep it that way!


Dr. I. Wonder is here to answer your questions regarding your furry family members. If you have a question, email it to us at danielle@NeighbourhoodPetClinic.com. Our team at Neighbourhood Pet Clinic will tap into their collective experience to answer your various questions.


Questions? Comments? Contact us today!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

News Letter