What is the treatment for roundworm in dogs?

Roundworms are a kind of worm that lives in the intestines of animals, including dogs. They are different from other worms in that they don't attach themselves to the walls of the intestines, but instead they just swim around in the food. They don't pass segments like tapeworms in dogs, but instead send out a lot of eggs that you can't see without a microscope. You can view a picture of a roundworm here, but there's not much to it - it's just a long, white worm.

   

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How do dogs catch them?

Dogs can get them a couple of ways. First, sometimes dogs will lick or eat the feces of other animals that are infested with roundworm eggs. They can do this directly, or indirectly if they step in it and then either lick their paws or step on something else that they lick. There are all kinds of ways that could happen - many dogs grab toys in their paws while chewing on them, for example. If the paws have stepped on the eggs outside, then the dog can easily get infested.

Also, pregnant dogs will pass roundworms to their puppies, so if your dog is younger it may have had them its entire life. Finally, your dog could eat another animal or even a bug that has roundworms. Roaches can carry the eggs, and mice or other animals that a dog might chase and eat can have them, too.

What are the symptoms of canine roundworms?

Animals with roundworm often get a pot-belly when they have high numbers of the worms in their intestines. They can also cause digestive problems such as a refusal to eat, vomiting, or diarrhea. They cause more serious problems with very young or very old dogs.

What is the treatment in dogs?

There are a number of different de-worming medicines that your vet can prescribe for you to either kill the worms or knock them out so that they pass in the dog's stool. That gets rid of the adults, but you will have to deworm your dog several times over the course of a month or so because deworming medications cannot kill the larva or eggs, and in fact the larva are often not even in the stomach - they move around through the dog's liver and lungs before they become adults, so you have to deworm the dog multiple times as these larva finish their life cycle of migration around the dog and into the digestive system.

Can I get them from my dog?

Yes. More accurately, you get it from the dog's feces, so you need to be careful about this - children should not be playing out in the yard where a dog uses the restroom, and you should start disposing of the stool instead of just leaving it there. Avoid any direct contact with it, because it will contain eggs. It is very hard to kill the eggs even with disinfectants, but if you wash your hands thoroughly it washes the eggs off. Roundworms cannot survive as adults in humans, but they are dangerous nonetheless - they move around the body and in the vast majority of cases are harmless, but in some cases they wander into the eye and die there, sometimes resulting in blindness from inflammation. This most commonly affects children.

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