| Nearly every puppy in the world is born with roundworms. This is because the roundworm’s larvae are transmitted from the mother to the puppy while it is still in the womb. A female dog can harbor roundworms in her tissue, often making them immune to dewormings. The roundworms then have the opportunity to emerge during pregnancy through the mother’s bloodstream and infect the unborn puppies. Roundworms can also be transmitted to newborn puppies through the mother’s milk during nursing.
Roundworms are also easily transmitted to humans. Young children are most susceptible because they are always sticking their fingers in their mouths! Roundworms are transmitted to humans and dogs through eggs that are in a dog or puppy’s stool. They can either be ingested through direct eating of the stool or by eating something else that has eaten the stool (the dog eats a bird, mouse, etc. that has eaten the dog’s stool).
Everyone should wash their hands frequently after handling the puppy or dog and make sure that all feces is removed from the yard and disposed of on a daily basis. Most infections in people are mild and cause no symptoms at all. However there have been cases of worms migrating to the liver, brain, and eyes.
Symptoms of roundworms in humans include:
•Passing of Worms
Infected puppies can become quite ill and heavy infestations may lead to convulsions and even death. Most puppies that die are around the age of two to three weeks old. Puppies should be wormed at ages 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks of age. Adult dogs should receive yearly stool samples from their veterinarian to check for worms. Roundworms will look like spaghetti in the puppy’s feces.
Symptoms of roundworms in dogs include:
•Lack of Energy
•Slow Growth Rate
•Coughing (if immature roundworms have migrated to the puppy’s lungs)
Some dogs may show some or all of these symptoms while others may show no symptoms at all. When adult roundworms are seen in the dog’s stool this is often because of ongoing disease in the bowel or sometimes because the worm burden had become so great that the worms are crowding each other out.
Treatment of roundworms is not dangerous and is highly effective. Buy your wormers from the vet and give them regularly as instructed. The tablets are not difficult to give if you train your dog to take them in tiny bits of cheese or put them into sweets. The best way to protect your family and dogs from roundworms is through a regular program of both medication and prevention (keeping the yard clean of feces).
About the Author
Jennifer Bryant breeds American Pit Bull Terriers and builds websites in her spare time.
Bryant’s Red Devils
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