Definition of Roundworms
Roundworms, also called ascarids, are the most common internal parasites of dogs. Most puppies have some roundworm infection from eggs or larvae that migrate through the placenta or are in their mother’s milk. Puppies with a large roundworm burden often die before or shortly after they are born. Adult roundworms spend most of their lives in a dog’s stomach and small intestine. Females lay hundreds of thousands of eggs daily, which pass in their stool and survive for years in the environment. Dogs become infected when they swallow roundworm eggs or eat infected rodents. Roundworms cause belly-aches, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing and general ill-thrift. Infected dogs develop a dull coat, distended abdomen and stunted growth. Owners who notice one or more of these symptoms should schedule a visit to the vet as quickly as possible. Owners should know that roundworms can infect people, and they can be fatal.