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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.

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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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

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Terrier/Chihuahua

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Ten Weeks

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Unknown severity

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Blood In Stool

I adopted a puppy from a shelter 4 days ago. He was dewormed (pyrantel) and given his second round of shots the day before I adopted him. He is having loose stools (not diarrhea, just loose) and yesterday I found a drop of blood as well as some wiggling, live worms in his stool. He is eating, drinking, playful, and behaving normally. Does this mean his dewormer is working as it should, or do I need to take him to a vet immediately? He has an appointment in two days but I am concerned about that these worms are alive and the small amount of blood I saw in his stool. Thanks in advance!

July 17, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello- Since your puppy is eating and acting normally and you already have a vet appointment scheduled I think as long as your puppy continues to act normally it is okay to wait until your appointment. A small amount of blood occurs with inflammation in the colon which can occur with intestinal parasites. Definitely bring a stool sample into your appointment so they can check to see what type of intestinal parasites are in there. If they were moving then no I do not think they were dead and your puppy likely needs another round of dewormer depending on what type of parasites were in the stool. Pyrantel only treats roundworms and hookworms. . Congrats on the puppy!

July 17, 2020

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Pitbull

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8mths

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Unknown severity

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Weakness, Loss Of Appetite, Vomiting And Diarrhea.

My dog recently ate a Dead squrral and is now throwing up worms. What do I do and what will treatment cost

July 10, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Ellen M. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hi there, thank you for your question. I am sorry to hear that your dog isn't feeling well. Without examining your dog, it is very hard to know what might be going on. This could be related to eating the squirrel, or your dog could have a severe intestinal parasite infection that is unrelated to eating the squirrel. It sounds like your dog is very sick, and I recommend having him examined and treated right away. He needs to be seen by a veterinarian. I don't know what the cost will be because cost differs by location, and also based on what is actually going on with your dog. A physical exam needs to be done to have a better idea on what further testing and treatment is needed. You can ask for a cost estimate when you get to the veterinary clinic. You can look into Care Credit and Scratch Pay to help with payments. Best of luck! I hope that your dog starts feeling better soon!

July 11, 2020

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Baxter

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Sheltie

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5 Months

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Fair severity

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Roundworms

Is it necessary to deworm your dog if he is already taking interceptor plus? He was given interceptor last month and passed 2 dead worms. He had a stool sample tested this week and the vet said they found a few round worm eggs. They recommemnded giving him a dewormer even though he is scheduled to take another dose of interceptor plus in 2 weeks.

Sept. 1, 2018

Baxter's Owner

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Kate

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Golden Retriever

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9 Weeks

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Moderate severity

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4 found helpful

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Moderate severity

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Roundworms

We recently got a puppy who has roundworms (diagnosed by stool sample at vet). The puppy has been given Heartguard and Strongid and will be rechecked in 2-3 weeks. The problem is that the puppy licked my children's cheeks and chin on our car ride home before I knew anything about these worms. In addition, she had two fecal accidents in the house which I cleaned with hot water and spray cleaner but I am reading that it is almost impossible to kill the eggs. My daughter accidentally bit her nail after touching the top of the puppy's head. I have read that eggs must mature in the environment in order to be able to infect someone but on the way home from where we got her she sat in the car and on the kids' laps, licked them etc. and I have no way of knowing if she was walking through or sitting in matured eggs before we got her home. I am very scared that they have contracted or will contract the worms and will develop the manifestation of the worms in their eyes and be blind. I am worrying myself sick over this and haven't slept well in 3 days. I have stressed the importance of washing their hands and they claim to be washing them every time they touch the dog but I just know one of them will forget on some occasion. I have steam cleaned my floors (laminate) but I don't know if the steamer gets hot enough to kill the eggs. I also clean up all poop immediately but since the poop is soft it is hard to get every last bit. She is currently pooping on the concrete so it will be easier to clean and receive direct sunlight. Can you please provide some reassurance?

July 21, 2018

Kate's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

While infections in humans with roundworms do occur, they are incredibly rare, especially if you consider the probability that almost every puppy born has roundworms at some point. We routinely deworm dogs and cats to get rid of these parasites, and the medications that we use are thankfully quite effective at killing them. The chances that your children have been exposed to any level of danger are very slim, although of course good hygiene is recommended, and if they are showing any signs of eye irritation or diarrhea, they should see their pediatrician.

July 22, 2018

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Magnus

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Boston Terrier

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7 Months

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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Fair severity

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Roundworms

Our veterinary clinic was closed due to a holiday weekend so we took our 7mo. old puppy to a chain store veterinarian. He was diagnosed with roundworms. She administered 1ml of pyrantel pamoate (50mg/ml) today. She gave us 3 syringes with 2ml each to give 1/day over the next 3 days. Is this typical protocol? I am worried this will overdose our 10 lb. puppy.

May 27, 2018

Magnus' Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Pyrantel pamoate is normally dosed at around 2.5mg/lb and sometimes up to 5.0mg/lb with a second dose being given after two or three weeks. The dosage prescribed is high, but within the safety margin of the active ingredient; if you have doubts about the treatment, you should call the prescribing Veterinarian at the chain store for clarification. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 28, 2018

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Charlie

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Mini Poodle

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3 Months

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Worms In Stool

My 3 month old puppy has had his first dose of nexgard spectra and noticed dead worms in his poop, worried these might be tapeworms that is not killed by nexgard they are around 1 inch long, golden in colour almost look like undigested orange and dead

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Adalyn

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Labrador Retriever

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3 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Roundworms

My 3 month old Labrador Retriever is being treated for roundworms but they're still alive and she's on her first dose and she's eating and drinking but every time she poops the worms are white and they're coming out alive how long does it take and do I have to wait the two weeks to give her the second dose and two weeks for the third dose cuz this is nasty? I also feel really really bad because I have seen her rub her butt across the floor also in her cage on the plastic is like little brown seeds that were attached to her not her butt and not her coochie right in between the hairs so I took a small comb I combed it out but what else can I do for her other than keep waiting to give her the second dose and then the third dose

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Bones

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silver lab

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8 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Hi I have a 8 month old silver lab named Bones. He recently quit pooping, eating, and drinking. I took him into a emergency vet clinic where they told me he had round worms. I have been treating him for 4 days now with no changes. I have tried rice and chicken, soft dog food, pumpkin and he will not eat. I am worried because he will not poop. What can I do to help him please.

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Keelut

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Alaskan Husky

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8 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea Weight-Loss

I have an 8-year-old Alaskan Husky. He had diarrhea even with prescription anti-diarrheal medicine. The vet suggested chicken and rice, then hamburger and rice, but diarrhea worsened. After another suggestion to keep him on hamburger and rice, I brought in a stool sample and roundworms were diagnosed. I was given medicine for roundworms along with an anti-diarrheal medicine which has left him constipated for four days. He has not produced a single bowel movement. The vet told me to keep him on the anti-diarrheal medicine. I am concerned that since the roundworm medicine anesthetizes the worm before the final stage of passing worms in the stool, my dog's constipation will allow the worms to propagate. Should I continue the anti-diarrheal or stop it so my dog can pass the worms?

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Thor

dog-breed-icon

Mix

dog-age-icon

3 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Throwing Up

I have a 3 month old puppy. His name is Thor. For the past four days now he has been throwing up every night. In the beginning it was food. Now he is just throwing up watery yellow foam. Well this morning I noticed he was about to throw up again and when I went to clean it I realized that there was a long worm in his throw up this is the first time I noticed a worm in his throw up before that they had only been in his poop. Prior to this we did treat him with flea medication for Pet Sense and de wormer medicine. He has been eating, playing and drinking water fine. I am still worried though. Should I take him to the vet?

Roundworms Average Cost

From 33 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

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