Roundworms are among the most common internal parasite of domestic animals with over 90% of puppies and 75% of kittens infected. Adult roundworms live in the intestines, absorbing nutrients meant for their host. Clinical signs of infection include vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, poor hair coat, and pot bellied appearance. Occasionally a dog or cat will vomit a worm.
Many puppies and some kittens are infected in utero, from nursing, or by ingestion of eggs in the environment. Adult roundworms can lay more than 100,000 eggs a day and these eggs can survive years in the environment.
Diagnosis is made via fecal float examination (performed at a diagnostic laboratory or at the veterinary office). There are many treatment options available, and a number of heartworm and flea preventatives work as well (Heartgard®, Trifexis®, Revolution®, and Interceptor® for dogs).
Additionally, people can become infected as well. Toxocariasis can cause serious illness, including organ damage and eye diseases. Young children, dog and cat owners, and those who accidentally eat dirt are more at risk. By controlling these parasites in dogs and cats we can help prevent this zoonotic disease.