Round Worms (Toxocara canis and Toxascaris leonina)

Round Worms in Dogs

How do dogs catch roundworms?

  • Usually passed by mother to puppies in the uterus or via milk. Puppies are most venerable and as a precaution all puppies are usually given de-worming pills
  • In the environment, roundworms are usually passed to dog by grooming after picking up contaminated feces or dirt, or by consuming a carrier animal like a squirrel that is infected
  • Playing fetch with a ball or frisbee in an an area where dog feces is laying around is a sure way for your dog to catch round worms
  • If you walk in feces and then walk in your house, or your dog chews your infected shoes, your family and your dog are at high risk

How do I know if an area is contaminated?

  • If feces is left in the area, assume it is contaminated
  • Don't play fetch in a dog park, the ball or frisbee will pick up the eggs!
  • Fresh feces is not contagious, eggs in the passed feces take 3-6 days to 1 month to grow (depending on the type of roundworm) and become infectious (a good reason to pick up and dispose of all feces immediately

How can I kill any roundworms in my home or yard?

  • Steam or high heat from a blow torch is the only effective method. Chemicals do not kill roundworms, however a bleach/water solution will strip the outer coating making them easier to wash away.
  • For interior space, or toys, steam is the only think you can really do
  • Outside soil and grass that is contaminated can not effectively be treated, only time will kill the eggs or disposal of the soil. Sunlight helps speed the process.

Are there different kinds of round worms in dogs?

  • Yes, there are two types of round worms in dogs, Toxascaris leonina and Toxocara canis. They are treated the same. Toxascaris leonina will travel via the lungs into the intestines by the dog coughing and swallowing and Toxocara canis will travel to the intestine and remain there in the dog.

How do you treat dogs for roundworm

  • Roundworms are killed by taking de-worming pills. Several treatments are needed because the pills only anesthetize the adult worms to be passed via feces, eggs remain in the dogs body.
  • The medicaitons on the market for killing round worms are as follows.
    • Nemex 2 & Nemex Tabs: Roundworms and Hookworms (Pyrantel pamoate) Pfizer
    • Worm Protector 2x: ## Scary looking company ## (Pyrantel pamoate) Trade Winds
    • Drontal Plus: Tapeworms, Hookworms, Roundworms, Whipworms, (praziquantel, pyrantel pamoate and febantel) Bayer
    • Sentinel: Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms, Heartworms, Fleas (Milbemycin Oxime, lufenuron) Novartis
    • Panacur - C ( Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms, Tapeworms, (Fenbendazole) Schering-Plough
    • Homeo Pet worm clear
    • Heartguard plus: Heartworms, Roundworms, Hookworms (ivermectin, pyrantel) Merial
    • Iverhart plus: Heartworms, roundworms, hookworms (ivermectin, pyrantel)
    • Iverhart Max: Heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms (ivermectin, pyrantel pamoate, praziquantel) Virbac
    • Interceptor: Heartworm, roundworms, hookworms and whipworms (Milbemycin Oxime)
  • Active Ingredients in de-worming medication
    • Pyrantel pamoate: Hookworms and Roundworms only (paralyzing agent)
    • Febante: Whipworms
    • Fenbendazole: Roundworms, Hookworks, Whipworms, Tapeworms
    • Ivermectin: Heartworm, mites, lice (dangerous certain breeds)
    • Lufenuro: Fleas
    • Milbemycin Oxim: heartworm, roundworms, hookworms and whipworms
    • Piperazine: Roundworms Only (used in most non-prescription pills in the U.S.) (issues:
    • Praziquantel: Tape worms

How can I prevent roundworms in my dog and home

  • All puppies must either receive a series of de-worming pills or have their feces tested every week and then treated as needed
  • Don't play fetch in dog parks
  • Pick up and dispose of feces quickly, do not leave it laying around in the back yard
  • If you walk in the dog park, never go into your house with the same shoes. We recommend a special pair of boots just for the park that never come in the house.
  • For adult dogs, have their feces tested once a month. We don't recommend giving drugs to dogs if they don't need it. Test and treat if necessary.

Can humans catch roundworms?

  • Yes
  • (pdf archive)


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