Roundworm Treatment 101

Early prevention can help control this common intestinal parasite

by Dr. Christine Becker, PetIQ Veterinarian

Roundworm Treatment

Roundworms are a common intestinal parasite of dogs and cats, especially young puppies and kittens. The most common source of puppy roundworms are roundworm larvae (immature roundworms) which are resting in the wall of the mother’s uterus. These larvae migrate into the fetal pups during pregnancy. There is a similar roundworm cycle in the cat, but with an important difference. Instead of larvae going from mother cat to kitten in the womb, the transfer takes place in the milk during nursing. Pets can also be infected by ingesting infected eggs in contaminated soil or ingesting an animal infected with roundworms.

The affected pet’s feces contains eggs and can transmit roundworms to other dogs and cats as well as re-infecting itself. These eggs are microscopic, meaning they cannot be seen without a microscope. Your pet may be infected with roundworms even if their feces looks normal to the naked eye. We offer a laboratory fecal test to diagnose the presence of roundworm eggs in feces.

Puppies and kittens should be given roundworm dewormers starting as early as 2 weeks of age and repeating every 2-4 weeks until regular broad-spectrum parasite control begins. Adult pets should receive year-round broad-spectrum parasite control with efficacy against roundworms. Pets diagnosed with a roundworm infection should be treated with a roundworm dewormer. Depending on the medication used, a repeat treatment may be required 2-4 weeks later.

We offer diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of roundworms. Treatment includes Pyrantel, an oral medication given in the clinic, and we also offer various treatments and preventions as medications that can be sent home. We offer roundworm deworming on its own as well as with our puppy and kitten vaccine visits. Due to the life cycle of the roundworm, the deworming should be repeated at least once, but often more times depending on your veterinarian’s recommendations.

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