Round Worms – Toxocara Canis & Toxocara Leonis
Almost all dogs and cats will be infected with roundworms at some time in their life but they are most frequently seen in puppies and kittens. Roundworms resemble cooked spaghetti and live unattached in your pet’s intestines where they feed off partially digested food.
How does my pet get infected?
- The adult worms shed eggs through the faeces of the infected pet.
- Other dogs become infected by licking or sniffing the infected faeces.
- Roundworm eggs can have ‘paratenic’ hosts such as earthworms, cockroaches and birds. If your pet ingests one of these it will become infected.
Is it true that a puppy or kitten be born with roundworms? Yes.
Roundworms have a complicated life cycle that includes many different stages one of which is encysted larvae. These larvae migrate through different body tissues and are capable of crossing the placenta of a pregnant dog or cat to the unborn puppy or kitten. They can also be found in the mother’s milk. Therefore, when the offspring are born they will already be infested with adult worms which in turn will start producing eggs.
What are the symptoms?
An adult dog or cat may show no symptoms of roundworm infestation or may have diarrhoea. However, puppies and kittens are often presented with:
- stunted growth
- persistent diarrhoea
If a human accidentally swallows an infected roundworm egg, the encysted larvae can migrate through various tissues and become a problem. This is an EXTREMELY RARE occurrence and normal hygiene control should prevent this.
- wear gloves when handling faeces.
- clear away your pets faeces timeously particularly from areas where children play.
- wear gloves when gardening.
- WASH YOUR HANDS after any of the above activities.
How should I treat my pet?
Visit your veterinary clinic. There are many excellent dewormers on the market and your veterinarian will be able to advise you which is the most suitable for your pet. Modern dewormers usually kill the worm in the intestines, where it dissolves. These drugs are safe and should have no side effects. Depending on the severity of the infestation you may need to repeat the medication 10-14 days after the initial treatment, or even complete a longer course.
When deworming your pet it is advisable to visit your vet clinic or vet shop and purchase a good quality product. Here you will be able to receive informed advice and instructions. Try to avoid buying dewormers from the supermarket or pet shops. Many of these products have been on the market for years and contain outdated active ingredients that can have side effects such as vomiting or diarrhoea. When in doubt ask your Vet..... That is what we are here for.
The four most common types of worms that affect our domestic pets are:
|HOOK WORMS||ROUND WORMS|
|TAPE WORMS||WHIP WORMS|