Chart: 6 zoonoses you should know -- Roundworm infection

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Mar 12, 2010
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Common disease name

Roundworm infection
(Roundworms are large [3- to 18-cm], worms that are usually tightly coiled when passed and look like spaghetti.)


Scientific name

Dogs: Toxocara canis (zoonotic), Toxascaris leonina (not zoonotic), Baylisascaris procyonis (zoonotic)

Cats: Toxocara cati, Toxascaris leonina


Method of infection

Puppies and kittens: Transplacental, ingestion of eggs in feces

Adult dogs and cats: Ingestion of tissues of intermediate host (e.g. rodents), ingestion of eggs in feces

People: Ingestion of larvated eggs (fecal-infected soil), ocular or visceral larva migrans (Toxocara canis)


Signs

Puppies and kittens: May present with ill thrift, failure to gain weight, poor hair coat, pot-bellied appearance; pups with heavy infections may expel a large mass of worms in the vomitus at 4 to 6 months old

Adult dogs and cats: Vomiting

People: Pneumonia-like symptoms and skin staining from damage to internal organs (visceral larva migrans) and irritated retinas from damage to the eyes (ocular larva migrans)


Treatment

Dogs: Fenbendazole, milbemycin oxime, pyrantel pamoate, and combinations of febantel and pyrantel and praziquantel

Cats: Selamectin, emodepside/praziquantel, combinations of pyrantel and febantel


People most at risk

Most common in children


Prevention

  • Deworm puppies and kittens when they are 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks of age, and give them monthly preventives as soon as the label recommendations allow.
  • Promptly remove animal feces from the yard and litter box.
  • Keep dogs on leashes or in fenced yards and cats indoors to help prevent ingestion of infected animals or feces.
  • Monitor children playing outside in sandboxes and parks.
  • Prevent transplacental transfer in dogs by treating bitches before and after whelping.

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