Roundworms: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
One of the most common type of worms your cat or dog can contract is roundworms. These parasites live inside the animals’ intestines and consume the digested contents. Roundworms are so common that nearly all cats and dogs will get roundworms at one point in their lives. If not treated, your pet can become severely ill, especially for younger pets.
Because puppies and younger dogs have not fully developed, roundworms slow down their growth as they feed off of the contents found in the intestines that are essential for a puppy’s growth.
Motherhood - Roundworms can be transmitted from mother to puppy. If the mother has roundworms, there is a possibility that roundworm larvae will be passed onto her offspring through nursing or by birth.
Being in contact with infected feces - Cats and dogs can contract this infection by ingesting an infected animal’s feces or contaminated soil. Roundworm eggs are shed into the feces, and other animals can get infected by simply sniffing or licking the area of contamination.
Consuming affected animals - Another way an animal can get infected is by consuming other infected animals or insects such as rodents and worms. Once the parasite is consumed, it will enter the body and begin its life cycle and reproduce throughout the body.
You can find roundworms in an infected pet’s stool or vomit. Typically, the worms are pale and a few inches long. Other symptoms include a pot-belly, vomiting, weight loss, coughing, and diarrhea. If your pet is experiencing any of the above, contact your veterinarian for immediate care.
Preventative Care & Treatment
Because roundworms are very common in pets, it is advised to deworm puppies and kittens at the first few months of age to prevent future infections. If your pet currently has roundworms, your veterinarian will take a sample of your pet’s stool and recommend a deworming medication to treat the infection.
A pregnant dog should be dewormed before giving birth, to decrease the chances of the infection to transmit to her babies. Even if the mother has had worms before and had been treated, the larvae is able to stay dormant in the body. There is a slight chance for the larvae to reactivate once the mother gets pregnant. In this case, the larvae can be transmitted to her offspring.
Be sure that your pet is up to date with all of his or her vaccinations. It is crucial in keeping your pet healthy and protected from parasites. Picking up after your pets can decrease the chances of spreading the infection to others and to people.
Be aware! People are able to contract roundworms, and they can live in the human body as well. If you had any direct contact with your infected pet’s feces or with the contaminated area, please immediately contact your family doctor.
For more information about roundworms, visit the site below.
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