It is observed that tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, heartworms, and whipworms commonly infect dogs. Roundworms are classified as intestinal parasites. They are the most common type of worms to infect dogs, and are also known as Ascaris. They are round in shape and their average length is about 2 - 5 inches. They live in the dog's intestine and sometimes also coil up in masses leading to obstruction of the passage. This particular infection is contracted easily and is difficult to control as it tends to spread quickly.
Symptoms of Roundworms in Dogs
- One of the most visible symptoms is a dull coat. A healthy dog always has a shiny, thick coat. A sharp rise in shedding is another sign. Also, look out for pale lips and gums, reddened, dry skin that is rough to touch.
- An inconsistent change in appetite is common. The dog might eat a lot one day and completely refuse food the next day. Weight loss, along with a pot-bellied appearance is another symptom you should watch out for. You might also catch him eating dirt and rubbish. Diarrhea and soft stools are a common occurrence associated with roundworm infestation. You will also notice that the dog experiences difficulty in passing urine, with an increased frequency as well. The urine is considerably darker in color.
- One of the most prominent symptoms is that one can spot adult roundworms present in their feces. Dogs will suffer from bloody, irregular stools, if infected. Sometimes, the roundworms might produce eggs upon maturing in the intestines which are excreted by the dog. Dogs might also suffer from anemia, ruptured bowels, and intestinal obstructions.The eggs present in the feces might spread over the floor, bedding, feeding bowl, and their coat. These might be licked off and swallowed by the same or other dogs and enter their digestive tract, and thus the cycle goes on.
- Lethargy is another classic symptom. You might see your dog getting weaker and lifeless. He will prefer to sleep rather than indulge in any physical activities. A typically playful and active dog will turn miserable and listless.
- The dog may begin to vomit if the larvae reach the respiratory system. Sometimes, roundworms might also be found in dog's vomit. In serious cases, symptoms like constant coughing, breathing problems, and pneumonia can be noticed. Other symptoms may include dry nose and dull, watery eyes.
There will be a noticeable change in the dog's behavior and health due to this infection. When you observe any of these symptoms in succession, you can be sure about roundworm infection. You can confirm it by examining his feces. It is best to visit a veterinarian after you notice the symptoms, as he will prescribe the best treatment for your dog. Vets usually conduct a microscopic evaluation of the dog's stool to determine if roundworm eggs are present, and accordingly begin the course of treatment. Remember not to ignore roundworms, though this is a common and minor problem, in some cases it can become very serious and can be fatal.