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: July 13, 2021

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we have made some important updates to our operating policies.

1. WE CAN NOW SEE ALL CASES BY APPOINTMENT ONLY This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, heartworm testing, spays and neuters, dental services, and more


  • Effective Monday, July 19, 2021, we are allowing a maximum of 2 clients into the hospital for food and medication pick up only.
  • Face masks are still required to enter the building.
  • Our “closed waiting room” policy will remain in effect for all appointments to protect our clients and staff. When you arrive, please remain outside the hospital and use your cell phone to call us at 613.531.3334. We will take a history of your pet’s health and discuss any concerns. A staff member will then meet you outside to bring your pet into the hospital for an examination. The Veterinarian will call you to discuss the recommended treatment plan. After your appointment, a staff member will return your pet to you outside and take care of any needed medications and payment.
  • Continue the use of credit cards as the preferred payment method.
  • Continue to offer curbside pickup of food and medication (unless you have used our online store and are having your order delivered directly to your home). To place an order through our online store, click on the “Online Store” button on the menu above.
  • 3. ONLINE CONSULTATIONS ARE AVAILABLE If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, click on the “Online Consultation” button on the menu above.

    We are OPEN with the following hours:
    Monday – Friday: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm

    Saturday & Sunday: Closed
    Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

    – Your dedicated team at Sims Animal Hospital