Round worms are common in dogs.
There are two species of roundworms, Toxocara canis and Toxascara leonina
Toxocara canis can infect and cause health problems in human animals.
(Refer to human animal infestation of roundworms at the end of this article)
Both types of worms are round, can grow up to seven inches long and are white to pale brown in color (they look like
spaghetti). They hang out in the intestines, soaking up nutrients from the dog's diet. The medical term for infection with
roundworms is ascariasis.

Toxocara canis

By far the most common round worm, especially in puppies
The larvae can infect human animals and has a unique and complex life cycle.
Your dog can get Toxocara canis worms a number of ways:

Puppies can be infected with larvae from their mother before they are born.
(A very common route of infection for puppies)
After birth the puppies can ingest larvae through their mother's milk.
Puppies and adult dogs can ingest eggs  by:
Eating rodents
(which are infected with the larvae or it’s eggs)
Eating fecal matter from other dogs that are infected
(The eggs are released continually in the dog that is infected)
(which hatch into larvae after being eaten)
Walking or playing in areas where other dogs or animals have been.
(Even if the stool is picked up some eggs remain.)
(Your dog steps in the area and ingests the eggs by cleaning its paws)

In puppies, the larvae hatch and migrate through the body tissues. Eventually reaching the lungs, they make their way
up the windpipe, and are coughed up, then swallowed. Once swallowed this time, the larvae then become adult
roundworms in the intestines. These produce continuous eggs, which are then passed in the feces..

In adult dogs, after ingestion, the larvae migrate to the intestinal wall and move through into other tissues in the body,
where they enter a dormant state. In pregnant females, the larvae become active again, and the larvae cross the
placenta into the pups, and are also secreted in the milk after birth. They can produce active adult roundworm infection
in the mom's intestines, which she then sheds eggs that can also infect the pups. The life cycle is designed by nature
to insure that they are very effective at infecting all types of animals.

Toxascara leonina

Are less common and are more often seen in older dogs and usually do not infect humans but are seen in cats.
These roundworms have a more straightforward life cycle. The eggs are shed in the feces, and once ingested they
develop into adult roundworms in the intestines.
(No migration to internal tissue or lungs are required)
They then shed more eggs and the process begins again
. The eggs are only infective after several days in the environment.
Your dog can become infected by the same methods as above.

Signs and Symptoms of Roundworms
Round worms (both types) will produce the following symptoms:.
(Although symptoms may only appear in heavy infections)

Puppies will sometimes vomit the round worms or pass them in their feces
Coughing due to the larval migration through the lungs
Failures to gain weight, or weight loss
Dull hair, pot-bellied appearance and diarrhea
Rarely, heavy infections can lead to blockage of the intestines,
which can be seen in a puppy or dog as: vomiting, lethargy.

Diagnosis of Round worms
Early stages of roundworm infection are detected under the microscope from a check of a stool sample (the test
process is called fecal flotation). The veterinarian or tech can tell the difference between the species of roundworm
based on the eggs.
When roundworms appear in vomit or stool, the infestation has already begun.


Treating Round worms
Treatment is the same, regardless of the species. There are a number of medications that can be used to treat
roundworms. Medications only attack adult roundworms, however, so the treatment needs to be repeated to deal with
any residual larvae as they mature.
(2 week intervals).
The number of treatments necessary will depend on the age, health and weight of the dog.
Warning
If you have a pregnant dog you think maybe infected, consult a vet for advice.
Never use an over the counter de-wormer on a pregnant dog.
Once de-wormed, many of the monthly medications designed for external parasite control contain medication that will
prevent roundworm infections. If your dog is not on one of these preventative medications, a regular de-worming
protocol should be established to keep roundworms at bay.

Prevention
Keep pet wastes picked up, prevent your dog from eating rodents,
carcasses, or other animals.
Keep your put from ingesting fecal matter.
Do not take your dog in areas where other dogs or animals
are allowed to roam or play,
if at all possible.
(This suggestion alone prevents a lot more then just internal parasite infestations.)
Have your animal on a preventive medication
(A veterinarian dispenses these)
Have your dog on a regular de worming schedule especially in high infestation areas (Southern climates)

Become aware of the types of internal parasites your dog may be exposed to and practice responsible ownership by
educating yourself in order to help your dog live a healthy and parasite free life.

Human Animal Round worms
(Toxocara canis)
The larvae of round worms can infect human animals also as.
This happens when eggs are ingested, usually by children who do not practice the best hygiene, and have eggs on
their hands and elsewhere, after playing in the yard, for example. Hand washing practices and hygiene especially in
households that have small children and dogs is very important. Keeping your pet waste picked up. Do not allow
children to play in areas that are reserved for the dog or dogs to use as their bathroom.

In human animals the larvae does not develop into adult roundworms, but the larvae migrates through the tissue and
cause’s inflammation, especially in young children.
Most cases are not serious, but there have been cases where organ damage has occurred because of the larvae
(liver, lung, and brain) and in some cases the larvae can reach the eyes, leading to visual disturbances and blindness.
The medical term for the migration of roundworm larvae through human animal tissues is called "visceral larva migrans"
while migration to the eyes is called "ocular larva migrans." Proper prevention of roundworm infection in your dog and
good hygiene practices will help prevent these human animal infestations from occurring.

John A Sampson I
K9 Training
K9Intl@K9Training.us
989-662-6230
00 + 1 + 989-662-6230 International
Mouth of roundworm
Dog Round Worms
Round worm measured
Canine Roundworm
Round worms extracted
Intestine with round worm infestation
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