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Roundworms in Puppies

Roundworms are found to be one of the most common infections that affect dogs. Read on to know more about this parasite...
DogAppy Staff
There are mainly five types of worms that affect puppies. However, roundworms are the most common. They are mostly circular or tubular in shape, and are generally 2-4 inches in size, but can grow up to 7 inches within a short span of time. There are mainly two types, Toxascaris leonina and Toxocara canis.

Causes

Roundworms, also known as Ascaris, are parasites that are passed from the mother to the puppy in the form of egg/larvae. They can also be passed through the mother's milk. If the puppy goes close to the feces of an infected animal, there are more chances of the puppy getting infected. Roundworms can also be passed on from the feces of the pup's mother. Puppies can also get infected by consuming a prey which is infected with the larvae. The parasite moves through the puppy's liver, then the muscles, then lungs, and finally reaches the intestines of the puppy and feeds on the partially digested food.

Symptoms

Puppies face a lot of problems when infected with roundworms. They face difficulty in swallowing and urinating. Various reactions, including vomiting, diarrhea, urination, coughing, sneezing, breathing, extreme weight loss, dull hair, pneumonia, loss of appetite, conjunctivitis, problems while passing stools, extreme weight loss, rotund belly, stunted growth, and anemia are all symptoms of a roundworm infection. If the parasite is not detected in time, it may even cause the death of the puppy.

Treatment

Deworming is extremely important for puppies when they are only a few weeks old, as the chances of the puppy getting infected is high. But it is extremely important to seek advice from the veterinarian before starting any treatment. Fenbendazole, Piperazine, Pyrantel, etc. are commonly used medicines to control roundworms in dogs. However, these medicines may cause side effects in puppies, thus, it is important to consult the vet. Natural resistance to any type of infection develops when the puppy is about 6 months old.

The veterinarian performs a microscopic examination of the puppy's stool, and recommends the medication needed for the puppy. During the treatment, the roundworms are not completely eliminated, as the medicines only let the puppy pass them out through stools. The larvae may still remain in the puppies intestines, thus, the treatment should be continued for 2 months at least.

Do remember that proper care can prevent a lot of canine health problems. You can clean the area where your puppy does its bowel movements by adding 1% of bleach to water. This way you can remove the sticky outer coating of the parasite eggs, but remember to do this safely.

Treating roundworms can be quite a task, so always care to prevent it in the first place. Keep a check on your puppy's body to see any changes, or if any kind of parasite has infested the puppy. Always keep the surrounding clean and disinfect the place regularly. Dispose the puppy's food if it does not eat it, and do not keep the food open for a very long time. Deworming a pregnant dog while she is in her later stages of pregnancy helps a lot. Do not forget to deworm the puppy as and when required. Dispose the puppy's feces in the proper place, and also avoid taking your dog to places where other dogs defecate. Humans can also get infected by dog worms, so proper hygiene must be maintained.