Heartworm Testing for Pets

Heartworms are a type of parasite that can seriously harm your furry friends. Heartworms are more commonly found in dogs but cats can also get them and suffer from heartworm- associated respiratory disease (HARD). These parasites damage the heart, blood vessels and liver. The best way to protect your pets from heartworms is to use a prevention plan and regularly test them.

What is heartworm disease in pets?

Heartworm disease is transmitted through mosquito bites. The mosquitoes carry the worms for a short period then pass them on to pets where they mature and reproduce. The worms usually live in the heart, blood vessels and lungs which is why they are called heartworms.

What are signs that my pet has heartworms?

Depending on how severe the infection is the signs may range from mild to life threatening. Pets that haven’t been infected for a long time can go quite a while before they start to show symptoms. For this reason once you see the signs you need to get treatment ASAP. The following are possible signs of a heartworm infection:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Swollen abdomen
  3. Persistent cough
  4. Loss of appetite
  5. Heart failure
  6. Reluctance to exercise
  7. Wheezing

Some of these symptoms may require surgical intervention. If you are concerned about these signs in your pet, reach out to us immediately at 613.531.3334.

How are heartworms diagnosed in my pet?

Heartworms cannot be seen with the naked eye, even with symptoms a veterinarian will still perform testing to properly diagnose your pet. A blood test is conducted to confirm the presence of heartworms. If the infection is confirmed our veterinary team will provide appropriate treatment.

What is the best way to protect my pet from heartworms?

The best way to prevent heartworms is to begin preventative treatment early. To keep your pets safe we recommend administering monthly preventative medication. Work with your veterinarian to discuss if your pet’s heartworm medication protects them from other parasites.

Last updated: March 18, 2022.

Dear Clients,

With the upcoming changes to masking requirements for Ontario, we wanted to keep everyone updated on our protocols. We have decided that our clinic will continue with mandatory face masks after March 21, 2022. This will be for all staff and all clients entering the clinic.

We understand that this may not be the update that some were hoping for. Our team continues to work in close quarters, it’s imperative that we continue to take these safety measures. This will help ensure that we can operate properly and continue to provide the best medical care for your pets. It has been so nice to welcome clients back into the clinic. With our exam room size and length of time spent with you, our doctors appreciate your compliance with our face mask requirements and hope this will continue.

As always, as things change we will continue to update our protocols as we feel necessary.

  • For medication/food pickup and payments, a maximum of 2 people are allowed in reception at one time. Upon arrival please call us at 613-531-3334.
  • Only 1 client will be allowed into the exam rooms at this time due to insufficient social distancing space
  • Face masks are mandatory when interacting with our team
  • Thank you for your cooperation and for helping us all stay healthy. Please be considerate of our staff. We ask only for courtesy and kindness when working with our team as they continue to work tirelessly to provide the best level of care for your pet during these trying times.

    – Your dedicated team at Sims Animal Hospital