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December 24

Dog Health Part 15: Roundworms in Dogs [2021 UPDATE]

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Introduction


As a dog lover, you always want to see your favorite pet in good health.

Routine checkups and vaccinations are a key aspect in keeping them healthy.

Nevertheless, like human beings they are also susceptible to certain diseases that are beyond our control.

They get these infections from their surroundings or through transmission from other animals.

Early detection is crucial in avoiding any severe infections such as roundworms in dogs.


Round worms, hookworms, whip worms and tapeworms are the 4 major types of intestinal worms that cause infections in dogs.

Thorough knowledge is required for timely detection and treatment of these infections.

This will keep your dog safe. In this article, let us understand more about the common occurrence of roundworms in dogs.

 

There are also common questions like can humans get roundworms from dogs?

You will get all detailed information about the causes, symptoms and treatment for dog roundworms.

Additionally we will explore some over the counter roundworm medicine for dogs that are very effective.

 

About Roundworms

Round worms are a group of ascarids and nematodes commonly seen in dogs.

They live inside a dog’s intestine and feed on semi digested food present there.

There is always a high chance of an infection by roundworms in dogs at least once in their lifetime. The probability is high when they are puppies.

Toxocara leonina and Toxocara canis are the two species of common roundworms in dogs.

Toxocara canis mostly effect puppies and has high chances of migration to human beings.

The presence of these round worms in puppies can seriously affect their health.

 

In rare cases it can turn fatal. 


Toxocara leonina usually infects older dogs and are comparatively less dangerous.

But the roundworms in dogs impair their growth and cause discomfort.


Causes and Modes of Infection

Most dogs are subject to routine vaccinations and vet care.

After taking all these precautions, how do dogs get roundworms? 

Dogs get round worms in their intestine from multiple sources. They are easily transmittable and the two common modes are,


Trans placental

In common terms it is the transmission that occur from the mother dog to the puppy.

At the pregnancy stage the larvae of roundworm in dogs can migrate to the fetus.

During the development of the fetus, it slowly gets into the intestine.

In certain cases it infects the mammary glands of the mother dog. In this situation puppies get infected through breast milk.


Soil and fecal matter

Roundworm eggs are sometimes present in the soil. Roundworm in dogs poop is also a very common occurrence. 

Dogs and puppies may accidentally lick or sniff this poop and get infected.


Consumption of infected animals

Roundworm larvae is present in other smaller organisms such as rodents, insects etc.

Even after the death of the animal, these larvae or eggs continue to survive.

Dogs and puppies may get infection while consuming this dead animal.

Image courtesy of VCA Hospitals.


Roundworm Symptoms in Dogs

In most cases dogs and puppies show certain peculiar symptoms after round worm infection.

Veterinarians also point out some rare instances of asymptomatic cases.

The information about detecting early signs of roundworms in dogs is very useful for any dog owner. 

This helps in easy diagnosis and the medication can be started at the earliest.

The common roundworms symptoms in dogs are given below,


Diarrhea and vomiting

the roundworms in dogs are usually present in the intestine.

This often causes digestion related difficultiesAs a result the dogs shows tendencies of frequent diarrhea and vomiting.

Once a recurring pattern is observed, it is possibly a sign of roundworm infection.


 Loss of appetite

frequent digestive issues have a negative impact on the dog’s appetite.

Over a period the pet dog will show less interest in food intake. The food intake timings also get disturbed by this.


Coughing

the roundworm larvae can migrate to different internal organs of the dog.

The presence of roundworm larvae in the respiratory tract and lungs leads to coughing.

In certain cases an acute infection can cause serious disorders such as pneumonia.


 Stunted growth

over a period the dog looks very weak and stunted in its appearance.

The presence of roundworm prevents the absorption of nutrients from the food. This results in severe infection making the dog appear sick.


Swollen belly

the presence of a high amount of roundworms in the dog causes swelling of the abdomen.

The dog can be seen with a potbelly while the rest of the body in a shrunk state.


In case you observe any of these roundworm symptoms in dogs, don’t hesitate to take the help of a veterinarian. Proper medication at the correct time helps to get rid of roundworm in dogs.


Detection of Roundworms

Observing common symptoms is the easiest way to detect the presence of round worms in dogs.

But some symptoms can occur as a result of other diseases also.

A proper diagnosis can help in confirming the presence of round worms in dogs and puppies.

The two ways of diagnosis are as follows,

Image via PetMD


 Visual Inspection

fully grown roundworms are visible to the naked eye. Round worms in dog’s poop is a confirmation that it is infected. They usually have white or brown appearance resembling spaghetti.  


Clinical

t is always better to confirm with a clinical examination.

A vet can help you in diagnosing the presence of very small roundworms in dog poop. A sample of the dog’s poop is tested under a laboratory microscope for confirmation.


The diagnosis of correct worm type and the level of infection is very important for providing appropriate medicines.


Effects of roundworms on dogs

The roundworms in dogs create a great deal of discomfort to them. It disturbs their digestive system completely.

In the initial days this can lead to moody and aggressive behavior.

Later they tend to eat very less food and eventually become weak.

In acute cases such an infection can cause premature death due to deprivation of essential nutrients in the body.


Transmission to Humans and Its Effects 

Can humans get roundworms from dogs?

Yes and at times it can be risky for human beings. 


It can transfer to human beings from the fecal matter of dogs. Usually the soil can get contaminated with a dog’s fecal matter.

The eggs from the roundworms in dogs poop can act as a carrier of infection. If a human being comes in contact (especially hands) with this, immediate sanitation is recommended.

In the absence of this, there are chances of ingestion of eggs through hand and can affect the body.

 

For acute cases, the larvae can multiply and impair the functioning of critical organs. 


In the case of human beings, symptoms are seldom seen. A severe infection can transform into a condition known as visceral larva migrans.

As a preventive measure, it is advisable to wear gloves while bathing your dog.

You should be very careful while cleaning the kennel and its surroundings. Proper precautions are necessary while allowing children to play with the dog.

Washing hands regularly after contact with your pets is the best hygiene practice that can reduce any such infections.


Prevention

Taking adequate precautions can help in preventing the incidence of roundworms in dogs and puppies. Some major aspects that prevent roundworms in dogs are.


Regular deworming

deworming should be done as early as 3 weeks from a puppy is born.

This will get rid of any roundworm transmitted from the mother. 

The mother also should undergo deworming before pregnancy. In the due course your dog needs to be dewormed regularly in consultation with a vet.


Frequent checkups

as a good practice, it is always advisable to take your dog to the nearby veterinary clinic every 2-3 months.

Routine checkups for any discomforts can be done regularly. In case of any doubts, always check for roundworms in dog poop.


Clean surroundings

always keep the kennel and surroundings clean.


Proper food habits

unhygienic food is a major reason for roundworms in dogs.

You can get rid of roundworms in puppies by providing fresh and nutrient rich food.


In any case prevention is better than going for treatments.

But most dogs encounter roundworm infection at least once in their lifetime. In such situation proper medication is the recommended option.


Home Remedies for Roundworm in Dogs

In the early stages certain home remedies are useful in preventing the spread of the larvae.

Most of these are natural remedies that are available in our households itself. Let us familiarize with few such remedies.

 Turmeric 

turmeric has a lot of medicinal properties and is a natural deworming substance.

It can be diluted in an oil and can be given to dogs.


Vegetables rich in vitamin A

 vegetables such as carrot are a rich source of vitamin A.

It helps to clean the intestine and can boost the immunity.


Probiotics & fermented foods

probiotics are food supplements containing bacteria that are good for gut health. 

Adding probiotics in the dog’s food helps in better digestion reducing the effect of roundworms in dogs. 

Fermented vegetables also provide similar results.


Pumpkin seeds

pumpkin seed is a natural dewormer due to the presence of cucurbitacin. 

Cucurbitacin is an amino acid that neutralizes the effect of round worms and aids in better digestion.


How to get rid of roundworms in Puppies and Dogs?

Even after taking all precautions if your dog gets roundworm, don’t worry.

There are many methods to get rid of roundworms in dogs. Early diagnosis helps in starting proper medication in the case of roundworm in your puppies.

Always consult a certified veterinarian before you proceed with any treatment.


There are various types of medicines available in the market that is effective in curing roundworms in dogs.

Depending on the age and the severity of infection, dosage and type of medicine may vary.  

Usually different over the counter roundworm medicine for dogs are readily available in both online and offline stores.


Generally all these medicines are capable of killing fully grown roundworms in dogs.

But the larvae and eggs may still exist in the intestine.

Due to this, frequent doses would be ideal for complete cure.

The details of some prominent over the counter roundworm medicines for dogs are given below.


Piperazine

piperazine and its derivatives are commonly used as an anti-parasitic drug to treat roundworms in dogs. It is usual given as an oral dose.

It paralyses the parasite inside the body and the dead roundworms will pass through poop.

The dosage is approx. 50 milligrams per kilogram body weight of the dog.

It is advisable to repeat the dosage every two weeks till the infection ends.



Pyrantel Pamoate

Pyrantel formulations are available under different brand names.

It is readily available over the counter from most pharmacy outlets. It can be used standalone or in combination with other medicines based on the level of roundworm infection.

Pyrantel is a very safe medicine and the dosage can be given within an interval of 2-3 weeks.

Administering Pyrantel during pregnancy period is a good practice to get rid of roundworm in puppies that can occur through trans placental spread.


Bayer Quad dewormer

it is a ready to administer dewormer that contains Pyrantel, febantel and praziquantel compounds.

It comes in the form of chewable tablets that can be easily given to dogs.

It is very effective against roundworms, whip worms and hookworms.

The medicine is suitable for big and medium-sized dogs with body weight above 45 lbs.



 Safeguard Canine dewormer

it is a powder form of fenbendazole that is very effective in treating roundworms in dogs. It is suitable for dogs above 6 weeks of age.

You can mix the powder with dog’s normal food. 

Repeat the dose for 3 consecutive daysThe dosage can vary depend on the weight and size of the dog. 



 Sentry HC Worm X Plus

this chewable tablet is based on Pyrantel Pamoate in combination with praziquantel.

It contains flavors that makes it easy for your dogs to chew it.

The recommended dosage is 2.27 milligram per pound of body weight. HC Worm X plus is suitable for dogs above a body weight of 25 lbs. 




Conclusion


Roundworms are a common occurrence in dogs and puppies

If detected properly, it is easy to get rid of roundworms in dogs using proper medication.

Nevertheless, it is always advisable to follow a proper diet for your dog. Maintaining high hygiene standards in an around the kennel is also equally important.

In case of medication, take the help of a veterinarian to determine the type of medicines and dosages.


about the author

Frank Harrigan

Frank loves tacos and dogs - the good, bad and ugly sides of dog ownership.


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