Roundworms in Dogs

Roundworms in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
Roundworms in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What are Roundworms?

Infection with intestinal parasitic roundworms (called ascarids) is very common in dogs. Roundworm eggs are ingested from the soil or feces. The eggs hatch and adults feed off of nutrients in the small intestines, causing digestive issues and damaging the intestinal wall. Since infection is very common in puppies, the breeder or veterinarian will normally deworm puppies as a rule. Since an infected pet can pass millions of eggs each day and the worms can also cause disease in humans, it is important to deworm pets and wash hands regularly. Dogs become infected with ascarids via ingestion of larvated eggs from a contaminated environment, such as feces, and ingestion of other vertebrate hosts that have consumed larvated eggs and thus have larvae in their tissues. All dogs should be screened for intestinal parasites, including parasitic roundworms, at least four times in the first year of life and at least two times per year in adults depending on patient health and lifestyle factors.

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Roundworms Average Cost

From 33 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

Symptoms of Roundworms in Dogs

Roundworms live in the small intestines as adults. In the larval stage, they can reside in other organs including the lungs. Symptoms may not be observed at all with roundworm infection, however, the following gastrointestinal (GI) tract and respiratory symptoms may be observed:

  • Abdominal swelling
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Coughing
  • Lethargy
  • Adult worms in stool and/or vomit (adult worms are a white or tan color and can be 3-7 inches long. They have the appearance of “spaghetti.”)
Types

There are two common types of roundworm that infect dogs. Each can be carried in rodents and has a unique lifecycle.

  • Toxocara canis – This ascarid infects dogs through 4 routes: Pet eggs on feces or vomit, pet eats a small rodent carrying larvae, pup infected with larvae from mother through the placenta, or pup infected with larvae from mother through nursing. After the dog eats the eggs, the larvae hatch and enter the bloodstream. They then enter the lungs, are coughed up and swallowed, and develop into adults in the small intestine where they feed and lay more eggs.
  • Toxascaris leonine– This ascarid infects dogs through 2 routes: The pet eats eggs on feces or vomit or eats a small rodent carrying larvae. After the dog eats the eggs, the larvae hatch and develop into adults in the small intestine where they feed and lay more eggs.
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Causes of Roundworms in Dogs

Dogs are able to become infected with roundworms through the following routes:

  • Eating feces from an infected animal
  • Eating an infected small rodent
  • Eating vomit from an infected animal
  • Pup infected through the infected mother in utero.
  • Pup infected through nursing from infected mother.
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Diagnosis of Roundworms in Dogs

If you have noted symptoms of roundworm infection or have seen adult worms in your pet’s stool or vomit, you will want to take your pet to the vet for treatment. If possible, bring a sample of stool less than 24 hours old for the vet to run a fecal analysis.

Physical examination will usually note a swollen abdomen often seen with roundworm infection along with reports of weight loss, inadequate weight gain in puppies or coughing. If you are unable to supply a fecal sample from home, your vet can take a sample at the clinic.

The diagnosis of roundworm infection is done through a fecal floatation. In this test, a sample of feces from your pet is mixed with a liquid solution that causes the worm eggs to float to the top of the mixture. The top layer is placed on a slide and viewed under the microscope. Roundworm eggs are easily identified. A sample of feces or vomit containing adult worms is also diagnostic.

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Treatment of Roundworms in Dogs

Roundworm infection is common and treatment is fairly straightforward. A variety of oral deworming drugs are available to kill the adult roundworm, including pyrantel, milbemycin, fenbenzadole and moxidectin.

Deworming medication does not kill the eggs of the roundworm. Depending on the medication’s length of action in the body, your pet may need to be treated one to three times to get rid of the adults and the newly hatched worms. In the case of the three-dose regimen, the pet will receive one initial dose, then two more doses 7-10 days apart (allowing time for existing eggs to hatch and become susceptible to the medication).

Puppies can be dewormed as early as 2 weeks of age, depending on the medication. It is important to clearly understand the instructions for the dewormer if you are planning to administer it yourself. Each medication varies in the age, dosage and treatment schedule. Using a dewormer in an animal too young for that medication can be life threatening.

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Worried about the cost of Roundworms treatment?

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Recovery of Roundworms in Dogs

Follow the veterinarians instructions carefully, being sure to administer follow-up doses of dewormer on the correct schedule. For animals who are being treated for roundworms, a repeat fecal analysis is recommended at 2 and 4 weeks to ensure that no roundworm infection is remaining.

One adult roundworm can produce up to 80,000 eggs daily, so exposure is common. Puppies should have fecal tests done every 3-6 months. Adult dogs are recommended to have their feces tested for intestinal parasites every 6-12 months.

Prevention of roundworm infection can be helped by deworming puppies early, deworming any new pets, preventing pets from eating rodents, keeping bedding and dishes clean, giving a monthly roundworm prevention (included in some heartworm treatments), and running fecal tests regularly.

Human roundworm infection is rare but possible. Direct contact with animals doesn’t normally cause infection since eggs have to be ingested after resting outside of animals for 14 days. Infection in humans will normally come from ingesting soil or feces from infected animals. Washing hands regularly is the best preventative of human infection.

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Roundworms Average Cost

From 33 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

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Roundworms Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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american pitt

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5 weeks

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8 found helpful

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8 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Roundworms

She has been pooping with roundworms a few each time she poops. I gabe her 1 dose of 30mg purantel 3 days ago. There are now live roundworms when she poops

Feb. 8, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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8 Recommendations

I'm sorry to hear this. Pyrantel should be effective. We usually give 5mg/lb, so this dose would be effective for a roughly 6kg pup. We would need to ensure she takes her full dose and does not vomit. We should repeat the treatment after 2 weeks or sooner if she continues to show signs of live worms. Do also ensure any other pets are treated and the home is cleaned thoroughly to prevent re-infestation.

Feb. 15, 2021

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Labrador Retriever

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Four Months

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11 found helpful

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11 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Roundworms

Hi there! We have a 4 month old beautiful brindle puppy that has roundworms! We've gone to our vet and they administered 2ml pyrantel, giving us a follow up dose of the same for 10 days later at home. As well as a broad spectrum (MilbeGuard) for 2 weeks from that. I noticed that NONE of the roundworms are dead in his stool. Adult live worms have been "escaping" from his anus at night, and the groupings of larva pods are being expelled as well. My big concern is that these worms are very much alive. Much of what I've read indicates they should be dead. He's eating and happy, otherwise. Thank you

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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11 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. . As the worms come out, they may be alive, but will die shortly afterwards. It sounds like he had quite a heavy infestation, and it may take a couple of doses of the medication. If he is still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and help get treatment if it is appropriate.

Oct. 13, 2020

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Roundworms Average Cost

From 33 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

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