Symptoms of Roundworms in Dogs

Roundworm in dogs is spread through eggs in the stool of infected dogs and can be passed to humans. Treatment of roundworms is relatively simple, but if left untreated, roundworms can lead to convulsions and even death.

Symptoms in Dogs

Roundworms are very common in puppies because mothers can test negative for roundworms while carrying undetected eggs in her tissues. These can be passed to the puppies during nursing. Adult dogs can also easily contract them as can humans. An infected dog sheds thousands of eggs in his feces that often can't be seen by the naked eye.

In adult dogs, they can grow up to seven inches long, but in puppies, they are about half that. They gather in the small intestine, sometimes in bunches so thick they obstruct passages. Occasionally, the worms can travel to the stomach and be passed through the bowels. Immature worms occasionally make their way into the lungs.

The tell-tale sign of roundworms is worms in the stool that look like spaghetti. Infected dogs may also have irregular stools that can contain blood. Other symptoms include potbelly, diarrhea, gas, vomiting, lack of energy, dull coat, coughing and slow growth rate in puppies. Some dogs respond with a loss of appetite while others eat ravenously, including consuming strange things such as dirt. Worms may occasionally be coughed or vomited up.

In adult dogs, roundworms are often relatively harmless, and some dogs don't show any symptoms until months after initial infection. However, in puppies, they can be serious, resulting in convulsions and even death.

Symptoms in Humans

Roundworms is more common in children because they are always putting their hands in their mouths, making them more at risk for contracting a disease they picked up from the grass.

Symptoms in humans are very similar to symptoms in dogs, including, vomiting, diarrhea, passing the worms, appetite loss, difficulty breathing, coughing, nausea, weight loss and chest or muscle pain.

Treating Roundworms

Treatment for roundworm in dogs is a simple dewormer, which can be prescribed by your veterinarian. To kill eggs that may be in your house, use a bleach treatment. Be sure to clean any area where the dog eliminates.

The best treatment is prevention. Take your dog in for annual exams that include a fecal worm check. Keep feces in the yard picked up and keep an eye on your dog when in public places so he doesn't eat strange stool.

Though roundworms in small amounts are relatively harmless, they are highly contagious and can be very dangerous to puppies. Roundworms can be easily treated once detected, so take your dog for his annual fecal exam.