The most common parasitic worm is Roundworms (Toxocara canis). Almost all dogs become infected with them at some time in their lives, usually as puppies. Roundworms may be contracted in different ways, making them easy to spread and hard to control. A dog may be infected with roundworms from the time it is born because often the mother passes the worms to the puppy while it is still in her body or in her milk. Humans can contract roundworms from their dogs so it is very important to stay on top of parasite control.
Symptoms of Roundworm
- Weight loss
- Dull Coat
Diagnosis of Roundworm
You may notice the adult roundworms in your dog's feces or vomit. They will appear white or light brown in color and may be several inches long. A fecal sample will help your veterinarian confirm the presence of roundworm.
Treatment of Roundworm
Dogs can get roundworm from their environment by eating items that have larvated eggs, in addition to getting it from their mother, which is why it is important to watch what your dog is doing at all times. Dogs who eat feces or small, dead animals are at higher risk. Remove feces from your yard on a regular basis and make sure that your dog is on a veterinary recommended parasite control product that includes roundworm prevention.
Once infected with roundworm, your dog will need treatment to rid their body of the adult worms in their intestine. To get rid of roundworms that are passed from the mother dog, puppies should be treated at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks of age and then receive a preventive treatment monthly. Fecal (stool) examinations should be conducted 2 to 4 times during the first year of life and 1 or 2 times each year in adults. Nursing mothers should be kept on monthly preventive and treated along with their puppies to decrease the risk of transmission.
Roundworm Infections in Humans
Roundworms do pose a significant risk to humans. Contact with contaminated soil or dog feces can result in human ingestion and infection. Roundworm eggs may accumulate in significant numbers in the soil where pets deposit feces. Once infected, the worms can cause eye, lung, heart and neurologic signs in people.
Children should not be allowed to play where animals have passed feces. Individuals who have direct contact with soil that may have been contaminated by cat or dog feces should wear gloves or wash their hands immediately.
Posted Thursday, June 25, 2015