Roundworms

What are roundworms?

Roundworms belong to a family of intestinal parasites found in dogs of all ages, most commonly in puppies. Puppies get the infection from their mother before they are born. All female dogs, even the best cared for, transmit roundworms to their puppies. Once the pups are born, the immature roundworm completes its development and female roundworms begin laying eggs. Adult dogs become infected by ingesting infectious roundworm eggs found in soil or immature roundworms found in prey.

Roundworms

Puppies with roundworm infections can develop a potbellied appearance.

How do I know if my dog has roundworms?

Checking a pet’s feces for parasite problems is an important part of routine veterinary care. A microscopic fecal examination by your veterinarian can detect roundworm eggs in your dog’s feces. The presence of eggs means that your dog is infected with roundworms. The size and shape of the eggs can help your veterinarian identify the particular species present. Additionally, adult roundworms may be observed in the pet’s feces.

Even if no eggs are present on fecal examination, your veterinarian may recommend treatment anyway, particularly for puppies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) recommend puppies be dewormed regularly to protect them from roundworm infections and reduce the risk of transmission of disease-causing
organisms to humans.

Are roundworm infections serious?

It depends on how many roundworms are present. Some dogs may harbor low numbers of roundworms but show no signs of illness, while more severely affected dogs may have problems like vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, poor haircoat, and an unthrifty “potbellied” appearance. In extreme cases, some dogs may require hospitalization and treatment. In rare situations, dogs may also develop an intestinal obstruction, which is a life-threatening emergency requiring immediate surgical intervention.

How are roundworm infections treated??

Safe and effective medicines called “dewormers” are available to rid your dog of roundworms. Many of these dewormers are effective against other types of parasites as well. Because most dewormers kill only adult worms and not immature stages that may be found in an infected pet, it is important to repeat deworming 2 to 4 weeks after the initial treatment.

Can roundworms affect people?

Yes, roundworms can be a significant human health hazard. People, usually children, acquire roundworm infections by ingesting soil that contains infectious roundworm eggs. Roundworm infections can lead to serious problems in the liver, lung, eye, and brain. our veterinarian can discuss the risks posed by canine roundworm and ways to avoid contact with it. Routine examination of your dog’s feces and regular deworming will not only protect your dog but may also help prevent the spread of roundworm.

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