Parasites: Roundworms

037-200x300Parasites – Roundworms
Written By Leanne Welch, Client Relations Specialist

What are Roundworms?
Roundworms are the most common intestinal parasite found in cats and dogs. Roundworms are parasites that live in and eat off of the intestines. They are usually white/light brown and look like spaghetti. Almost all dogs and cats become infected with roundworms at some point in their lives, usually as puppies and kittens.
How will I know if my pet has Roundworms?

Some pets do not show symptoms of an infection. You may notice a “potbelly” appearance and diarrhea. Some other symptoms include weakness, vomiting, stomach pain, weight loss and a dull coat. You might see roundworms in your pets stool/vomit. A fecal analysis (a test of the stool) is the best way for your veterinarian to diagnose a roundworm infection and an important part of your pet’s annual exam.
How did my pet get Roundworms?

Animals that are already carrying roundworms shed the eggs in their feces, other animals become infected after coming in contact with the contaminated feces. Puppies and kittens can be born with roundworms if their mother is a carrier; larvae can develop during pregnancy and move from the placenta into the fetes. Roundworm larvae can also enter the mother’s mammary glands and be passed to puppies and kittens through her milk.
Is my family at risk?

Although uncommon, it is possible for humans to have a roundworm infection (Toxocariasis). You or your children can develop Toxocariasis by accidentally swallowing contaminated dirt/feces. Many people who are infected do not show symptoms. Toxocariasis is more likely to develop in young children since they often play in or eat dirt. It is very important to practice strict hygiene to protect yourself. Be sure to wash your hands after playing with your pets, after outdoor activities and before handling food. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) recommends cleaning your pets living area thoroughly once a week. Feces should be bagged and disposed in the garbage right away. Toxocariasis is difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are so similar to other medical problems. A blood test is available that checks for evidence roundworm larvae. If you think you or your child may have come in contact with roundworms or for more information please contact your Family Physician.

How can I protect my dog against Roundworms?
The best way to treat and control Roundworms is by using a monthly de-worming treatment, such as Sentinel Spectrum. Sentinel Spectrum also protects dogs against heartworms, tapeworms, whipworms and hookworms.

How can I protect my cat against Roundworms?
The best way to treat and control Roundworms in cats is by using a monthly de-worming treatment, such as Revolution. Revolution also protects cats against fleas, heartworms, hookworms and ear mites.

To order Sentinel Spectrum or Revolution please contact Neffsville Veterinary Clinic (717) 569-5381.

References:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
http://www.cdc.gov

American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)
https://www.aaha.org

Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC)
http://www.petsandparasites.org/

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