Recognizing Roundworms in Dogs

Friday, March 4, 2022 15:54:59 PM America/Los_Angeles

Roundworm, an icky spaghetti-shaped worm, is one of the most common parasites found in dogs. It’s important for dog pawrents to recognize the symptoms of roundworm, as nearly all dogs will likely have roundworms at some point in their life.  

Photo by Mike Burke

How Dogs Get Roundworms

Roundworms are most commonly found in young dogs because these parasites are primarily transmitted from mother to child. Transmission happens either when puppies are still in the uterus or through drinking their mother’s milk. Treatment is crucial in eliminating roundworms because dormant larvae can be “reactivated” as dogs grow or become pregnant. 

Unfortunately, these yucky parasites can also be picked up from their environment. Roundworm eggs can be found in the soil, infected animals, and poop from other infected animals. 

How to Tell If Your Dog Has Roundworms

While some dogs may not exhibit any symptoms, there are a set of common signs that your fur baby might have if they’re dealing with roundworms. Because roundworms feed off of partially digested food, most signs will be gastrointestinal. They include:

  • Pot-bellied appearance
  • Malnourishment
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Coughing
  • Weight Loss
  • Belly pain
  • Worms in vomit or feces

How to Treat Roundworm in Dogs

If you suspect that your dog has roundworms, your vet will ask that you bring in a fecal sample. Dog potty situations can be complicated when it comes to parasites, as you want to be sure that their usual pee pad doesn’t harbor any roundworms or larvae. Consider placing wee wee pads outdoors until your furry one has been fully treated. 

Once the presence of roundworms is verified, the vet will recommend a dewormer to safely get rid of the roundworms. Roundworms have a very complicated life cycle, so a vet’s guidance is often needed even if you already have the appropriate medication on hand. Your vet will help you determine the frequency of the medication, as dewormers are effective only against adult worms. Consistent treatment is necessary in order to completely eliminate the roundworm larvae as they mature.