The most common type of intestinal parasite, roundworms infect dogs and cats through contact with fecal matter, where the roundworms hatch their larvae. Pets can become infected by roundworms through ingestion of infected soil, licking fur and paws that have come into contact with a contaminated source, drinking contaminated water or coming into contact with cockroaches that carry roundworm eggs.
Roundworms are the most dangerous for young puppies and kittens, because the parasite will drain nutrients away from the pet’s body, which can lead to malnutrition, respiratory issues, and intestinal blockage. Infected female dogs and cats can pass an infection to their young through nursing, but only dogs can pass on their infection in the womb.
Roundworms can also infect humans through ingestion or skin contact. This can cause serious health problems, including organ damage as the larvae enter organs and travel through the body.
Roundworms can lay over 200,000 eggs every day, which makes it very important to catch the infection early before any health complications occur. Symptoms in your pet can include a potbellied appearance, lack of growth, coughing, and vomiting. You may be able to see roundworms in your pet’s stool–they are thin, long and pale.