How beautiful is motherhood! Puppies and children enjoying a mother who loves and protects them, a selfless love that feeds them and shelters them. In those first days of its existence, breast milk is the first contact with external food, and through it, the newborn receives the first nutrients. But beware! The first parasites can also arrive, hidden.
That is one of the ways that our potential enemy – the roundworm of the family of nematodes ( Toxocara canis and Toxocara cati ) – can use to develop their larvae and get them to get into our little pet.
Ascariasis is a very common parasitic disease, reaching 12% of adult dogs and 31% of puppies, and being very serious for the youngest. In addition, it can infect humans, mainly children! Therefore, adequate preventive prophylaxis will be the best way to help our beloved pets and our family.
Who is the roundworm and how does it infect my dog?
The roundworm has a direct but complex life cycle. Adult worms are present in the intestine of an affected dog, excrete their eggs in the feces of the animal, which after being evacuated abroad will become infectious after 3-4 weeks. They are eggs very resistant to temperature variations and disinfectants. Once hatched, infective larvae penetrate our dog by direct ingestion of contaminated water, by licking surfaces with feces, or by ingesting small mammals carrying larvae. In the dogs in the gestation state, the ingested larvae of Toxocara canister can cross the placenta causing the pups to be born parasitized, or they can even become contaminated after birth by ingesting the maternal colostrum carrying larvae, in the case of both Toxocara canis and Toxocara cati. The larvae will travel through our pet’s organism until they get to stay in their small intestine and develop – getting to be 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 maybe non-existent if contamination is scarce. Therefore, if we detect any symptoms, we must go to our veterinarian to perform an examination for the parasite in the stool or vomit.
The most notable and common symptoms of this disease are:
- Vomiting, diarrhea and bloating
- Lack of appetite, weight loss, malnutrition, and physical weakening
- Respiratory signs such as cough and pneumonia
- Rumpled or ruffled hair
- Apathy and low mood
- In puppies under 3 months, in addition:
- Disruption of development and growth
- Intestinal occlusion and swollen belly
What is the best prevention?
To prevent parasites by roundworm it is very convenient to take hygienic precautions and prevent pets from ingesting foreign animals or lands 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 for pets to learn not to defecate in the spaces they share with children. In addition, it is appropriate to act on the animal by going to our trusted veterinarian to request that we make an appropriate 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 we treat the mother.
Protecting our pets against worms, fleas, and ticks, we will be protecting our family from possible zoonoses or diseases transmitted by our hairy parasites.