Ascarids & Roundworms in Pets
Ascarids, or roundworms, are common intestinal parasites found in dogs and cats. Puppies and kittens can be infected by their mother. Kittens can carry the parasites from a very young age, while puppies may be infected from birth.
How are ascarids and roundworms transmitted?
Adult dogs and cats become infected by eating worm eggs from contaminated soil or stool, or by eating infected rodents. Ingested eggs travel through the body to the intestine and develop into mature worms. There, adult worms begin to deposit eggs. The eggs pass with the stool and repeat the cycle.
Can humans get roundworms from their pets?
Humans can be infected with roundworms by accidental ingestion of the infective egg stage of the parasite. Roundworm infection can cause very significant problems in humans. Ask your physician or pediatrician if you have questions.
Symptoms of infection
Infected pets may exhibit no obvious signs. Or you may see any of these signs:
- Mucus or blood flecked stool
- Weight loss
- Poor hair coat
- Abdominal (belly) enlargement
- Vomiting can occur
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosis is accomplished by microscopically examining a stool sample for roundworm eggs. Occasionally, worms may be seen in the stool of infected pets, but not always. Normal bowel movements do not rule out the possibility of parasite infection.
Treatment consists of various deworming medications. Some dewormers may kill more than one type of parasite. Roundworm elimination requires at least two dewormings 10-21 days apart. Following treatment, another stool examination is recommended to determine if further deworming is needed. To avoid re-infection, it is important to keep pet areas clean and free of stool.
Post-Treatment and Prevention Tips
- Use all medications as directed by your veterinarian.
- Clean up stools and stool contaminated areas promptly.
- Monitor your pet's progress carefully and have him/her rechecked as directed by your veterinarian.
- A follow up stool examination is needed in most cases after treatment.
If you have questions about worms and other harmful parasites, please visit our parasite prevention center. You can also contact your Banfield Pet Hospital today to speak to a veterinarian about the best prevention method for your pet's unique needs.