Roundworms are parasites that can infect a dog or cat’s intestinal tract or other bodily tissues, ultimately causing malnourishment, as the parasites consume the pet’s food and block the intestines. Typically, roundworms can be avoided with a monthly preventative, such as Iverhart Plus.
Your pet will need a dewormer solution if they’ve been infected with roundworms, but be sure to find one that includes roundworms in its specific target. Some heartworm medications and other parasite dewormers will work against several types of parasites. Also, if your dog or cat is already on heartworm medication, ask your veterinarian before starting a roundworm dewormer.
How the Medication Works
Deworming medicines target adult roundworms that have attached to the intestinal wall. The worms are anesthetized so that they release their hold on the intestines and pass out of the body through your pet’s stool. Once in the outside environment, the worm dies.
Because some worms may be in different life stages at the time of treatment, deworming medicines may have to be administered several times to be fully effective. Worms that aren’t yet in the intestines won’t be affected by the medication, so you’ll have to catch them again as they reach the adult life stage.
Common Types of Dewormers
- Febantel (in Drontal Plus)
- Pyrantel pamoate (in Drontal, Drontal Plus, Strongid, Nemex, Heartgard Plus, Iverhart Plus, and Iverhart Max)
- Praziquantel (in Drontal, Drontal Plus, and Iverhart Max)
- Ivermectin (in Heartgard Plus, Iverhart Plus Chewables, and Iverhart Max)
- Piperazine (in many over-the-counter products)
- Fenbendazole (in Panacur)
- Milbemycin oxime (in Trifexis)
- Moxidectin (in Advantage Multi for Dogs and Advantage Multi for Cats)
Since roundworms are so common, especially in puppies and kittens, it’s essential to get your new pet checked immediately. Some veterinarians recommend deworming for puppies and kittens, whether there are any signs of the worms or not, just to be safe.
Your veterinarian may recommend a year-round preventative deworming medication if your pet is at a high risk of infection or has had recurring infections.
To reduce the risk of your pet getting roundworms, clean the litterbox or the place in the yard where your dog eliminates on a regular basis. Don’t let your dog sniff or eat the stool of another animal anywhere, like in a park or along your walking route.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the fastest way to get rid of roundworms in dogs?
The fastest way to get rid of roundworms in dogs is by using a prescription dewormer medication that is effective against roundworms. There are several medications available, such as fenbendazole, pyrantel pamoate, and milbemycin oxime, that can effectively treat roundworm infections in dogs. Fenbendazole is an anthelmintic medication that is effective against a wide range of parasites, including roundworms. It works by inhibiting the parasites' ability to absorb nutrients, which eventually leads to their death. Fenbendazole is usually given once daily for several days, and it can be administered orally in the form of tablets or granules. Pyrantel pamoate is another anthelmintic medication that is commonly used to treat roundworms in dogs. It works by paralyzing the worms' muscles, causing them to detach from the intestinal walls and be expelled from the body. Pyrantel pamoate is usually administered orally in the form of tablets or liquid, and it is often given in a single dose. Milbemycin oxime is an antiparasitic medication that is effective against a variety of parasites, including roundworms. It works by interfering with the parasites' nervous system, causing paralysis and death. Milbemycin oxime is typically administered orally in the form of tablets, and the dosage and duration of treatment depend on the severity of the infection. Note that these medications are available only by prescription, and they should be used only under the guidance of a veterinarian.
Can my dog pass roundworms to my cat?
Yes, dogs can pass roundworms to cats, as well as other animals and even humans. Roundworms are transmitted through the ingestion of infected eggs or larvae, which can be found in contaminated soil, water, or feces. When a dog ingests infected material, the roundworm larvae can migrate to the dog's intestines and grow into adult worms, which produce eggs that are then shed in the dog's feces. If a cat then ingests the infected feces or contaminated material, it can become infected with roundworms as well. Always practice good hygiene and regularly deworm all of your pets to help prevent the spread of roundworms and other parasites. You should also dispose of your pet's feces promptly and wash your hands thoroughly after handling pets or their waste.
How do you get rid of roundworms in cats without going to the vet?
While it is recommended to consult with a veterinarian to treat roundworms in cats, there are some over-the-counter options available that may help. One option is to use an over-the-counter dewormer medication that is effective against roundworms. These medications are available in pet supply stores and online, and they usually come in the form of tablets, liquids, or granules that can be mixed with food or administered directly to the cat. Pyrantel Pamoate is available in tablet or liquid form and is effective against hookworms and roundworms. It is usually administered orally, and the dosage depends on the weight of the cat. Praziquantel is available in tablet or liquid form and is effective against tapeworms, as well as some other types of worms. It is usually administered orally, and the dosage depends on the weight of the cat. Fenbendazole is available in tablet or liquid form and is effective against a wide range of parasites, including roundworms. It is usually administered orally once daily for several days, and the dosage depends on the weight of the cat. However, it is important to note that these medications can have potential side effects, and they may not be effective against all types of roundworms or in all cases of infection. Another option is to try natural remedies that are thought to help expel worms from the digestive tract. Some examples include pumpkin seeds, garlic, and diatomaceous earth. However, the efficacy of these remedies is not scientifically proven, and they may not be effective in treating all cases of roundworm infection.
How do I clean my house after roundworms in dogs?
Cleaning your home after a roundworm infestation in your dog is important to prevent reinfection and the spread of infection to other pets or people in the household. The first step is to remove any feces from your home and yard thoroughly. This includes picking up any feces in the yard, cleaning any contaminated areas in the house, and disposing of any feces in a sealed plastic bag. Clean any surfaces that may have come into contact with infected feces or your dog's fur, including floors, carpets, bedding, and furniture. Use a disinfectant cleaner to kill any remaining roundworm eggs and larvae. Steam-cleaning carpets and upholstery can also be effective in killing eggs and larvae. Wash any clothing, bedding, or other materials that may have come into contact with infected feces or your dog's fur in hot water and detergent. Any materials that cannot be cleaned or disinfected, such as heavily soiled carpets or bedding, should be disposed of in a sealed plastic bag. Vacuum any areas that may have come into contact with infected feces or your dog's fur, including carpets, floors, and furniture. Be sure to dispose of the vacuum bag or canister contents in a sealed plastic bag. To prevent future roundworm infections, it is important to regularly deworm your pets, practice good hygiene, and dispose of feces promptly.
Can you touch a dog with roundworms?
It is generally safe to touch a dog with roundworms, but it is important to practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of infection. Roundworms are transmitted through the ingestion of infected eggs or larvae, which are shed in the dog's feces. The eggs and larvae can survive in soil or other environmental surfaces for long periods of time and can be transferred to humans through contact with contaminated material. Direct contact with an infected dog's fur or skin is not likely to transmit roundworms to humans, as the larvae typically need to be ingested to cause infection. However, it is still important to practice good hygiene when handling an infected dog, especially when cleaning up after the dog or handling feces. Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling an infected dog or its feces, and dispose of feces promptly to prevent the spread of infection. If you are pregnant, it is especially important to take precautions when handling an infected dog or its feces, as roundworm infection can be harmful to the developing fetus. Pregnant women should avoid cleaning up after dogs with roundworms and should delegate this task to someone else if possible. If cleaning up after an infected dog is unavoidable, pregnant women should wear gloves and wash their hands thoroughly afterward.
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.