Dogs suffer from a number of parasitic worms and Roundworms in dogs are a common problem. Luckily heartworm some heartworm prevention medicines such as Iverhart, Heartgard Plus and Interceptor also protect your pet from these.
This gives you as the pet owner the advantage of convenience, not having to remember to give an additional medication for the control of roundworms in dogs and a cost saving too as the one medication does the job of two! The advantage for your pet is not to have to take more medicine – which has got to be a bonus!
Roundworms are sometimes referred to as ascarids and they are about three to five inches long. They live inside the dog’s intestinal tract, moving about in the small intestine, feeding off the partly digested food there.
Unfortunately, bitches can pass these worms to their puppies before birth. This is due to the fact that immature larvae are present in the muscle tissues of the mother and when the hormonal changes of pregnancy occur in her body, this triggers the tiny larvae to be transmitted through the placenta and into the foetus, the developing puppy (or puppies) in her womb. These horrible little parasites can even be passed from mother to puppy in her milk if the larvae are also present in her mammary glands. Once inside the puppy, the parasites go on to develop and mature inside the bowel.
Any dog can also get infected by ingestion of the roundworm eggs that are passed in the faeces of infected dogs. If your dog is a ‘digger’, hunts for mice or rats, licks its fur after walking on contaminated ground and so on, it could end up swallowing eggs. These will hatch inside of the dog’s stomach and then the tiny larvae move throughout the dog’s body until they move back into the intestinal tract and become mature adults. Then they lay eggs which end up being deposited in faeces and so the cycle continues.
Popular over the counter treatments for dog worms – including roundworms
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Whilst roundworms are nowhere near as serious as heartworms, they can cause loss of condition, loss of appetite and even sickness and loose stools. Infected Puppies look pot-bellied and can even die if they have a large burden of worms that causes a blockage of the bowel. Your puppy will need worming at around two to three weeks old as although heartworm preventative medicines as mentioned above also treat these, this treatment does not start until the puppy is a little older.
As canine roundworms can be transmitted to humans, it is important to make sure that dog faeces are removed quickly from your garden and anywhere that children play. Very serious consequences can arise if a person becomes infected as the larvae travel throughout the body and can lodge in the eyes and result in devastating blindness caused by roundworms.
If you do not live in a heartworm area and your dog is not on one of the preventives mentioned above, consult your vet about a worming schedule. Pregnant bitches need to be wormed to help protect both her and her puppies. Roundworms in dogs is a problem that should be taken seriously as even if the consequences are not devastating for the dog, it would be horrendous to know that your child had been blinded as a result of ingesting the eggs from an infected dog or puppy.