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Roundworms in Dogs

Roundworms in Dogs

Roundworms are common parasites that block the intestine and cause health problems in pets. This article provides some information related to the symptoms and treatment methods of this ailment.
Batul Nafisa Baxamusa
Roundworms look like a spaghetti that is about 4 to 7 inches in length. It is also known as ascarids, and it's commonly found in the intestines of dogs and cats. They commonly occur in puppies, as the larvae are passed on to them in their mother's womb itself.

An Overview
There are two types of ascarids which can affect dogs: Toxascaris leonina and Toxocara canis. The most common of the two is the latter one. These parasites thrive in the intestines by feeding on the partially digested food. They do not attach themselves to the intestinal walls like the hookworms. They also tend to swim in the food and pass on their microscopic eggs through the feces.

Roundworms can be passed on by the ingestion of eggs, transport hosts, or larvae, that enter the body through the uterus, and also from the mother's milk. A dog may eat transport hosts like other animals and insects that carry the larvae, and get infected with ascarids. For example, cockroaches, earthworms, rodents, and even chicken are the most common hosts. These larvae can migrate through liver, muscles, lungs, and finally reach the intestines. They mature and reproduce new eggs that are passed out through the medium of stools.

The most common symptoms are as follows:
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Pot-bellied appearance especially in puppies
  • Dull hair coat
  • Coughing, in case the larvae travel to the lungs
Some of the less commonly seen symptoms are:
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Damage to intestinal tract
  • Pneumonia
If you are looking for treatment options, then you need to contact a veterinarian. He may suggest some medications like pyratel, fenbendazole, piperazine, etc., for treating ascarids. Such medicines generally aim at killing these worms completely. Many deworming products may have adverse effects on young puppies. Therefore, you should always seek veterinarian advice before trying any such things.

You can always opt for homeopathy as a natural treatment method. You can mix ½ - 2 cloves of fresh chopped garlic in the pet's food for treating roundworms. About 2 tsp. of oat barns or grated carrots added to each meal will also help in getting rid of these worms.

You need to deworm your dog 4 to 5 weeks before breeding, to minimize the chances of parasite transmission. As they penetrate the mother's mammary glands, it is wise to deworm the newborns, as soon as possible.

You should get rid of any mice infestation in or around your house. These rodents are carriers of roundworm eggs and larvae. If your dog comes in contact with such rodents, it may get infected. Also, avoid taking your dog to the places where other pets defecate. Watch out for tiny white worms that look like rice grains. This may be a sign of parasitic infection, and you need to seek medical attention in such cases.

You should frequently take some prevention measures, as reinfection is very common in the case of these parasites. There is no medication which can kill larvae or cysts. Therefore, always carry out appropriate steps to protect your pet's health.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and should not be substituted for the advice of a professional veterinarian.