Roundworms have evolved in a manner that they can thrive in almost any environment. They can be found in freshwater, sea water and even in terrestrial environs. There are nearly 20,000 species of roundworms out which 15,000 are parasitic. They are also the most prevalent of the worms as compared to all other types of worms in dogs.
Many dogs are born with roundworms. These are generally passed to them by their mothers through the uterus or through the mammary glands. A mother can transmit larvae that are lying dormant in her tissues or organs to the fetus of her puppy. She can also transmit the larvae while nursing since the larvae can enter the mammary glands and pass on to the young one.
There are, however, other ways in which roundworms can enter the body of a dog. The most common among them is by ingestion. Dogs can consume roundworm egg or larvae infected feces since many dogs do have a tendency towards coprophagy (eating feces). They can also ingest larvae by eating other infected animals like rodents.
Roundworms have a complicated system of migration in the body. The migration process depends upon the age of the dog. In adult dogs, roundworm eggs hatch inside the body and the larvae migrates to the respiratory system or other parts of the body. They can remain encysted in a tissue or an organ for years and can resurface after a long time.
In young dogs the larvae generally migrate to the respiratory system. These are then coughed up as vomit. In most cases the dogs eat the vomit back and the larvae enter the stomach. On maturing in the intestines, the adult worms produce eggs that are excreted in stool and the process goes on and on.
All parasites feed off the host. Unlike dog tapeworms that absorb food through their skin, roundworms have separate orifices for ingestion and excretion. Roundworms intake what ever they can from what the dog eats, depriving the host dog the nourishment that it is necessary for its growth and health.
Diagnosing prevalence of roundworms is relatively easy. A close examination of the stools shall reveal if your dog in infected with roundworm since the whole worm can be seem in the stool. The round spaghetti-like shape is also easy to decipher. It is possible that you observe symptoms of worms in dogs even when there is no physical evidence of the presence of roundworms in the stools. In such cases, a microscopic evaluation of the dog stools becomes essential. What is generally looked for in the stools is evidence of roundworm eggs. Many times you may actually see some common feline parasites in dog stools. This can happen if your dog has ingested infected cats’ feces.
Though roundworms have a role to play in the overall ecosystem, they can lead to unmanageable conditions inside a dog’s body. Early detection can prove to be very beneficial and can help you get rid of the menace sooner. Treatment is of prime importance and any treatment of worms in dogs should be repeated over a period to effectively kill all live and dormant encysted larvae.
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