Roundworms are also known as ascarids and are parasites that live inside the animal’s intestines, where they can lead to all sorts of complications. When it comes to color, they’re usually whitish or light brown and just a few inches long – in a sense, they look like spaghetti.
If your dog has roundworms, you will notice a series of signs. However, you should keep in mind that some dogs don’t show any symptoms of being infected, so you need to pay extra attention to some other key things.
For example, the pet might be more lethargic than usual and it might have an enlarged belly. It can also suffer from diarrhea, and it could vomit on a daily basis. Additionally, you can spot roundworms in the pet’s poop or vomit, and although it sounds disgusting, you need to check the stool daily, especially post-treatment.
Roundworms live in the pet’s intestines, depriving the pup or adult dog of nutrients from food – thus symptoms of a heavy roundworm infection can also include signs of malnutrition such as persistent weakness, weight loss, and stunted growth.
If you see these signs combined with other unusual behaviors, take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. The vet will test a sample of your dog’s fecal matter and begin a set of efficient treatments if he or she thinks it is necessary.
Speaking of which, there are many safe and effective deworming drugs on the market, but they’ll have to be prescribed by your vet since they can be dangerous if given by an untrained person. They include but not limited to fenbendazole, milbemycin, nitroscanate, piperazine, and pyrantel, and they are mostly equally efficient in treating this condition.
The veterinarian will give your dog one to four doses at first, which will kill all the adult worms. Your pet will get follow-up doses to kill any leftover larvae that weren’t fully developed at the moment when the first doses were given, just to make sure reinfestation won’t happen.
Because it’s common in puppies, many veterinarians deworm pups when they’re 2-4 weeks old just to be safe. It can be fatal for puppies because the worms suck all the nutrients they need to grow and to become happy and active dogs.
Even after your furry companion is treated, it should get regular fecal exams done by experts with the help of a microscope. For puppies, it is recommended two to four times a year, even five if it lives outdoors. For dogs that at least one year or older, one to two times a year should be more than enough.
How do dogs get roundworms?
These parasites are common in nature. Puppies, as we all know, have the highest risk of stumbling across them and becoming sick. Pets can also get them from their mothers, which is just as sad as it sounds. If your pup’s mother is infected with roundworms, she could pass them before the pup is born. Or it may get them by drinking her nutritious milk, which is why these cases need extra care for longer periods.
The environment where your dog lives is also a potential source of worms. That’s why you should never allow it to touch another animal’s poop, or eat mice or other small animals that could be infected.
After your pet swallows the worm eggs, these hatch and turn into larvae in its intestines. The larvae then spread through your companion’s liver and kidneys and up to the windpipe. Next, the pet will start coughing and losing a lot of weight. The adult worms can lay their eggs inside the dog’s warm body, which continues the cycle until treatment or death.
Can humans get roundworms from pets?
Yes. That’s why it’s important for people to pick up after their pets right away in yards and outdoor public areas to reduce the risk of roundworm transmission to humans. However, note that the roundworms that affect dogs do not complete their life cycle in humans, which is great news for us.
They can still make people very sick, but will not endanger their lives as it can happen with most pets. In humans, the eggs can turn into larvae which become encysted in various organs and can sometimes cause serious disease and organ malfunction – and, needless to say, it is a very dangerous situation to be in.
Because of the potential risk of transmission to humans, it is recommended that dogs receive thorough treatment and preventative care against roundworm. You should be careful with letting children play on the grounds that are known to be contaminated with dog feces and also make sure that their hands are washed frequently if they’re playing outdoors with stray dogs.
Roundworms spread easily, and prevention is the best weapon against them. One single roundworm can produce up to 86,000 eggs a day, which is scary. But, the good news is that you can do a lot of things to ward them off.
Besides deworming all your pets, you can make sure to keep things clean, including all the areas where the pet eats, sleep, and plays. Moreover, you should throw away their poop properly, in specially designated bins. Clean up after the pet in your yard and the park, even if it feels like a hassle. Don’t let your pet use a playground or sandbox as a litter box. Also, if you own a well-made winter dog house, make sure you clean that as well, since most often forget about those.
Another thing you can do is throw away those nifty dog pee pads that you used for way too long and that are just laying around. Alternatively, you can invest in an efficient natural puppy shampoo to clean the dog whenever it spends a lot of time outside, to prevent it from carrying eggs inside the house.