How beautiful is motherhood! Puppies and children enjoying a mother who loves and protects them, a selfless love that feeds and shelters them. In those first days of its existence, breast milk is the first contact with external nutrition, and through it, the newborn receives the first nutrients. But beware! The first parasites can also arrive then, hidden.
This is one of the ways that our potential enemy – the roundworm of the nematode family (Toxocara canis and Toxocara cati) – can use to develop its larvae and get them to enter our little pet.
Ascariasis is a very common parasitic disease, affecting 12% of adult dogs and 31% of puppies, and being very serious for the youngest. In addition, it can infect humans, especially children! Therefore, an adequate preventive prophylaxis will be the best way to help our beloved pet and our family.
Who is roundworm and how does it infect my dog?
The roundworm has a direct but complex life cycle. Adult worms, present in the intestine of an affected dog, excrete their eggs in the animal’s feces, which after being evacuated to the outside will become infectious after 3-4 weeks. They are very resistant to temperature variations and disinfectants. Once they hatch, the infective larvae enter our dog by direct ingestion of contaminated water, by licking surfaces with remains of feces, or by ingesting small mammals that carry larvae. In pregnant female dogs, the ingested larvae of Toxocara canister can cross the placenta causing the pups to be born parasitized, or they can even become contaminated after they are born by ingesting the maternal colostrum carrying larvae, in the case of both Toxocara canis and Toxocara cati. The larvae will travel through the organism of our pet until they are able to lodge in their small intestine and develop – becoming adult worms – and reproduce to release eggs. During parasitization, adults do not suck blood, but instead compete for our dog’s nutrients.
How can I suspect that the disease is present?
The clinical symptoms are varied, and may be non-existent if the contamination is scarce. Therefore, if we detect any symptoms, we must go to our veterinarian to carry out an examination in search of the parasite in the feces or vomit.
The most notable and common symptoms of this disease are:
- Vomiting, diarrhea, and bloating
- Lack of appetite, weight loss, malnutrition and physical weakness
- Respiratory signs such as cough and pneumonia
- Disheveled or spiky hair
- Apathy and low mood
- In puppies under 3 months, in addition:
- Development and growth disturbance
- Intestinal occlusion and a swollen belly
What is the best prevention?
To prevent roundworm parasitosis, it is very convenient to take hygienic precautions and prevent pets from ingesting strange animals or soil suspected of being contaminated with larvae. This being especially recommended in homes with children who play with dogs and puppies, where it will be very important that pets learn not to defecate in the spaces they share with minors. In addition, it is advisable to act on the animal by going to our trusted veterinarian to ask him to make us an adequate preventive plan that includes the Double Monthly Protection to protect internally and externally. In the case of the offspring, it will be highly recommended to treat them up to 3 months at the same time that we treat the mother.