Roundworms are the most common type of worms in dogs in the UK. This is due to the lifecycle which is virtually impossible to break. Their lifecycle virtually guarantees that puppies are either born with an infestation or will get one almost immediately after birth. Because this type of worms in dogs is so common and because it can actually cause severe damage to human health, treatment is absolutely vital.
Roundworms are either transmitted to puppies in the womb before birth or via their mother’s milk soon afterwards. Also, dogs can pick up this sort of worms from contaminated faeces. The larvae of this type of worms in dogs is capable of migrating around the body, through the internal organs, being coughed up and swallowed and making a home in the intestines where it goes on to mature. Adult worms will then eat the semi digested food available to them in the intestine before releasing eggs to be passed out with the host’s faeces. Other larvae migrate into various tissues of the body where they lie dormant but still viable. Later, when the dog becomes pregnant they will become active and infect her puppies. Worming treatments will not kill larvae. This makes it almost impossible to prevent round worms in dogs.
The worst symptoms of infestation affect puppies, with sickness, diarrhoea and stunted growth being very common. A classic symptom in puppies is a swollen stomach. In serious cases roundworms will kill a puppy by entirely blocking its intestine.
There is no available treatment which can kill worm larvae and so puppies need frequent treatment to remove any infection. In the environment, worm eggs can remain viable for up to two years so even adult dogs could pick up this parasite at any time.
Another thing about this type of worms in dogs is that it has strong potential to harm human health. In humans, worm larvae are known to cause blindness as well as damaging the internal organs. It is children who are most at risk of picking up worm eggs from contaminated soil or sand because of their propensity to put dirty fingers in their mouth.