Ask the Veterinarian/Roundworms

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QUESTION: My dog had a litter of pups and I wormed them two days ago along with mom with a liquid wormer called pyrantel pamoate. I have not seen the pups' stools because mom still eats them. Today a pup passed a stool while I was there and it contained the spaghetti like worms which I am assuming are roundworms. My children have been around the pups and mom. Do you think this wormer is taking care of the worm or should I contact the vet?  I also want to know what is the risk of my children or I getting the roundworms.  I have other dogs which are on revolution so they should be safe from contacting the roundworms.  Any other suggestions on further preventing the roundworms would be appreciated. Thank you.

ANSWER: First of all, how old are these pups? If they are 6 weeks then they should be weaned and she shouldn't still be cleaning up after them. That reinfects her.

Most puppies and kittens are born with roundworms if the Dam is not wormed prior to breeding. Even then they can still be born with them.

Roundworms are the most common of the worms but puppies can also harbor whip, hook and even pinworms.

There are two major forms of toxocariasis, visceral toxocariasis (VT), also called visceral larva migrans (VLM), and ocular toxocariasis (OT), also called ocular larva migrans (OLM).

Children are at high risk of getting what's known as Visceral larval Migrans from roundworms which are a round worm infection that travels to the eyes, lungs or the brain. Roundworms can thus be very dangerous for children.

Scrupulous hygiene is necessary to prevent young kids from contracting these worms.
There are several things that you can do around your home to make you and your pets safer:

   Clean your petís living area at least once a week. Feces should be either buried or bagged and disposed of in the trash. Wash your hands after handling pet waste.
   Do not allow children to play in areas that are soiled with pet or other animal feces and cover sandboxes when not in use to make sure that animals do not get inside and contaminate them.
   Wash your hands with soap and warm water after playing with your pets or other animals, after outdoor activities, and before handling food.
   Teach children the importance of washing hands to prevent infection.
   Teach children that it is dangerous to eat dirt or soil.

Toxocara eggs have a strong protective layer which makes the eggs able to survive in the environment for months or even years under the right conditions. Many common disinfectants are not effective against Toxocara eggs but extreme heat has been shown to kill the eggs. Prompt removal of animal feces can help prevent infection since the eggs require 2 to 4 weeks to become infective once they are out of the animal.-CDC

Dogs and puppies need to be treated every ten days for a month to clear of most infections. They can easily be reinfected so they need to be treated often for that reason.

The wormer you are using is commonly used for treating rounds but it isn't very broad spectrum so you might want to get another wormer from your vet for the other types of worms. If the Dam is on heartworm prevention she should have been fairly worm free. She should be on prevention anyway so hopefully she is.

When you saw the worms in the puppies stool that meant that the wormer is working and you are seeing dead and dying worms. Mark the day you treated so that you can treat again in 10-15 days.

If you live in the south of the USA you need to treat these puppies for whips and hookworms as well, and make sure that they are on heartworm prevention as well at six weeks of age.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Pups are only 4 weeks old.  Dam was on revolution before pregnancy. Children are 4 and 8 years old.  The children only have contact with the puppies a few times a day by petting puppies.  Children play in the yard the Dam uses. I clean pups area at least three times a day and wash any items that same day.  I am assuming that they contacted from mother.  I will contact my vet for additional wormer. As for prevention of the children contacting the worms steam mopping and washing hands after being in the yard should work?  Should I contact the children's physician to ask for something they can take as a precautionary step?  Thank you again.

Answer
Yes! You are on the right track. This is a health concern but it's not like kids get roundworms daily. But, it's enough of a concern that the CDC has made brochures for Veterinary clinics to educate the public.

You can learn a lot more about it and the prevention of it on their website. I have found that even our own staff didn't know enough about it to be warning young parents with new puppies about it, so I got some brochures and they started handing them out.

Hand washing is ESSENTIAL and making sure the young ones do not put their hands in their mouths before washing them after petting.

I would get a sprayer and bleach the yard once over lightly if I were you. The eggs are rather tough and sunlight does kill them, but you really need to keep an eye on the yard and pick up all piles right away. The CDC suggests "Do not allow children to play in areas that are soiled with pet or other animal feces and cover sandboxes when not in use to make sure that animals do not get inside and contaminate them." So it is suggested that the Dam not use the same yard. That can be tough, I know.

The dam passes round worm eggs via her milk believe it or not. It's not passed while in the womb.
I don't know of anything children's preventative medicine but there is roundworm medicine for children. It wouldn't hurt to ask.

I had to have this conversation with a child care provider of mine when my son was young. She bought a Doberman puppy who was pooping freely all over the same yard the kids used to play in.
I was horrified. So I told her that she needed to stop that and start cleaning like crazy.
My kids also grew up in our clinic and were around hundreds of puppies. They are both fine.

But since you live in Texas, I would get a more broad-spectrum wormer as I noted last time and give her and the pups that as well.  

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Jana Connell RVT, CVT

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PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!

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I have over 35 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love.

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Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.

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Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 550 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

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Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

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