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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Worms, Roundworms (Ascarids) View In Dogs




Condition Overview

Many parasites can reside inside a pets gastrointestinal tract. The most common causes of problems are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and heartworms.


Roundworms look like long strings of spaghetti which you may see in the feces, and can also be vomited up. Worms live in the intestinal tract and can cause diarrhea or sometimes vomiting. Heavy worm loads can lead to anemia, loss of appetite, and malnutrition as the parasites suck blood or live off the food in the pet's body.

Puppies with roundworms look thin and scrawny, except for their distinctive potbelly, they may vomit frequently or have diarrhea. A rough dull coat is another sign of infestation. Puppies with roundworms may develop a cough or even pneumonia. A pup with a heavy infestation of roundworms can result in serious illness or even death, as this tangled mess of worms may in fact, block the passage of the gastrointestinal tract.


Fleas, lice, cockroaches, beetles, water bugs, and rodents are intermediate hosts of tapeworms and roundworms. Worms can also be transmitted in a weaning mothers milk.

A pets immunity can can break down under conditions of stress or ill health creating an environment more favorable to the population of worms. When that happens, the worms increase in number and eventually produce signs of intestinal infection.


If your pet vomits or passes worms, or has diarrhea and you suspect worms that you can't see, collect a sample of the vomited material or stool to take to your vet for identification and diagnosis. Adult dogs should have an annual fecal exam to determine if worms are present.


Puppies, whether or not they show signs of infection, should be dewormed every two weeks until they are eight weeks old.

Nemex or Strongid (pyrantel pamoate suspension) is an excellent dewormer for nursing pups because it is safe and active against both roundworms and hookworms. This type of dewormer can be obtained through your vet. Drontal Plus, Vercom Paste, Telmintic, and Panacur have a broad spectrum of activity and are all highly effective against roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. Drontal and Vercom are also highly effective against tapeworms.

Kaopectate is a safe and effective way to reduce diarrhea and calm your pets stomach while struggling with worm induced diarrhea. To give the medication, draw some up in a syringe or turkey baster. Tip your pets head back and squirt the medication in his mouth toward the back of the tongue. 1/2 to 1 TEASPOON of Kayopectate for every 10lbs of weight (but no more that 2 tablespoons) up to 3 times per day as needed.


Heartworm preventatives such as Interceptor and Heartgard Plus do a great job of controlling many common worms.

To control reinfestation, it is necessary to get rid of the pests that may carry the worms. Many intestinal parasites spend their larval stages in other animals and develop into adults only when the dog or cat eats one of these animals.

Preventing pets from roaming and hunting will reduce their exposure to parasites, as well as toxic substances and poisons. Thoroughly cook all fresh meat prior to feeding it to your pet.

You can also prevent roundworm infection by picking up and properly disposing of feces daily. Everyone, (but especially) infants and young children that play with and handle nursing pups must wash their hands to prevent the transference of worm material.


Please contact your veterinarian if you suspect your pet may be infested with worms.

Show Sources & Contributors +


Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats

Publisher: Bantam Dell Publishing, 1996

Website: http://www.randomhouse.com/bantamdell/

Authors: Matthew Hoffman, Laura Catalano, Maryanne Dell

The First Aid Companion for Dogs And Cats

Publisher: Rodale Inc, 2001

Website: http://www.rodalebooks.com/

Authors: Amy D. Shojai, Shane Bateman DVM

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