Heartworm testing for Pets

Heartworms are parasites that live within the hearts of your loyal companions. They are more common in dogs, but can still be found in cats. Heartworm infestations can lead to serious health problems. One of the main reasons why heartworms are dangerous is because they are often undetected until they have greatly multiplied inside your pet. Adult parasites can grow up to a foot long, reach major blood vessels and cause blood clots. Heartworms can lead to lung disease, heart failure and death, which is why our veterinarians recommend regular testing and vaccinations to prevent infestations.

How can I tell if my pet has heartworms?

It is difficult to spot symptoms as pets rarely show signs in the early stages. Your best bet is to bring your pet to a veterinarian. Heartworms can only be detected through blood testing. There are signs that could indicate an infestation, but you should have a professional diagnose your pet. If your pet is experiencing fatigue, difficulty breathing, huge weight loss, fainting, decrease in appetite and persistent dry coughing, reach out to your veterinarian immediately. Call us at 204.452.9010.

How is my pet tested for heartworms?

A blood sample is collected from your pet. The blood is then examined for the presence of heartworm proteins. Our team may also perform X-rays for the chest and check heart function. If heartworms are present in your pet, they may affect these important organs.

My pet is on heartworm prevention medication, do they still need to be tested?

Absolutely! Your pets can be infected even when they are on preventive medication. Any late or missed doses while can make your pet susceptible to heartworms, hence we recommend regular testing.

I want to protect my pet from heartworms, how do I do that?

To protect your pet from heartworms you should begin preventative treatment early. Our veterinarians may prescribe medications in the form of tablets or topical liquids. Your pet should also be vaccinated for heartworms every 6-12 months.

Last updated: April 5, 2021

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective May 25, 2020 the restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.

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


  • Continue our "closed waiting room" policy to protect our clients and staff. When you arrive, please remain outside the hospital and use your cell phone to call us. 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 with 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, visit our website and click on "Online Store".
  • 3. OPERATING HOURS We are OPEN with the following hours:
    Monday to Friday: 8:00 am - 6:30 pm
    Saturday: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm (Pick-up Only)
    Sunday and Holidays: Closed

    4. NEW PET OWNERS Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

    - The team at Fort Garry Veterinary Hospital