Roundworm infection refers to the presence of parasitic worms called roundworms or nematodes in the dog’s intestinal tract. These worms live there, multiply and thrive on partly digested food. This is a very common infection seen in dogs. Almost every dog may get infected with roundworms at some point in its lifetime.
Roundworms appear mostly white and sometimes brownish in color. They can grow very large and resemble spaghetti. Most often, this condition is seen in young dogs.
What causes roundworm infection in dogs?
Newborn pups can inherit these parasites from their infected mother, either before birth or by drinking their mother’s milk. If the mother has had an infection earlier and got treated, there is still a possibility of encysted larvae being present in dormant form inside the female dog’s body till pregnancy. These larvae pass on to the puppies after getting activated again in pregnancy. Dogs can also get infected by eating small animals such as rats, birds or insects that carry roundworm larvae in their bodies. They may ingest the parasitic eggs from their surrounding objects, trees and ground. If the dog ingests another animal’s stools or sniffs a dog’s stools, it can get infected with roundworms.
Roundworm infection symptoms in dogs
- Weakness – Puppies have an increased risk of being infected with roundworms as their immunity is not yet developed. You can see that the affected dog loses weight, despite of being fed well. The dog becomes inactive and weak and growth may also be stunted in case of untreated roundworm infection.
- Bulged belly – When the roundworms remain undiagnosed in the dog’s body, their population can grow and multiply rapidly. The presence of multiple adult worms in their stomach can make their belly look bulged or swollen.
- Vomiting and diarrhea – These worms can cause digestive problems and lead to vomiting and diarrhea. Sometimes, these worms can be seen in dog’s vomit or poop.
- Coughing- The infection can reach to an extent where the worms reach the lungs and cause coughing fits or respiratory conditions.
Dull coat – The hair of the dog may lose its sheen and appear dull.