How to Diagnose Ascarids in Dogs

Two Parts:Diagnosing Ascarids in DogsTreating and Preventing Ascarids

Ascarids are also known as roundworms and these parasites can cause some serious health issues for your dog. Ascarids may also infect humans if contact with a dog’s infected feces occurs. If you suspect that your dog may have ascarids, then the best thing to do is to take him to see a veterinarian. Before you take your dog to see a veterinarian, you can check for symptoms, consider risk factors, and collect a stool sample to help your veterinarian make an accurate diagnosis.

Part 1
Diagnosing Ascarids in Dogs

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    Watch for symptoms of ascarid infection. Ascarid infections in dogs may start with some mild symptoms and progress to more serious ones. These symptoms are often the first sign that a dog may have ascarids. Some common symptoms of ascarids include:
    • larvae in feces (may look like grains of rice or spaghetti noodles)
    • diarrhea
    • vomiting
    • poor appetite
    • colic
    • bloated belly
    • dull coat
    • coughing (due to larvae in your dog’s lungs)[1]
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    Consider your dog’s age. Dogs under one year old are the most likely to get ascarids and most puppies are born with ascarids. This is because dormant worms may become active when the mother dog becomes pregnant and the worms can also cross the placenta. If your dog is still a puppy, then it is likely that he has ascarids.
    • It is crucial to treat puppies for worms because puppies born with ascarids may fail to gain weight and even die from the larvae in their systems.[2]
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    Collect a stool sample for analysis. Your dog’s veterinarian will need to inspect a sample of your dog’s stools to determine if he has ascarids. Dogs that are infected with ascarids carry lots of them in their feces, so they will be easy to spot in your dog’s feces. To collect a stool sample from your dog, you will need to:[3]
    • Wear gloves and wash your hands. Make sure that you wear gloves when you collect your dog’s stool sample and wash your hands right after collecting the sample as well.
    • Contain the sample. Use a clean plastic, glass, or metal container that you can seal tightly with a lid. You can also ask your veterinarian for a sterile container to use.
    • Label the container. Make sure to label the container so that it includes your dog’s name as well as the date and time of collection.
    • Place the sample in a sealed plastic bag. This will provide some extra protection in case the container leaks.
    • Deliver the sample as soon as possible. You will need to deliver the stool sample to your veterinarian’s office as soon as possible soon after you collect it or else it may dry out. Try to get the stool sample to your veterinarian’s office within one hour of collecting it.
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    Inspect your dog’s vomit. Sometimes when a dog is heavily infected with ascarids, he will vomit up worms that resemble spaghetti noodles. If you notice any cream colored spaghetti-like worms in your dog’s vomit, then take him to see a veterinarian for treatment right away. Dogs that are heavily infected may suffer from an intestinal rupture, so prompt treatment is essential.[4]
    • Clean up your dog’s vomit right away to prevent children or other animals from investigating the vomit. Wash your hands right after cleaning up the vomit.
    • You may also want to collect a sample of the vomit for your veterinarian to inspect. If you decide to do so, wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after collecting the sample.

Part 2
Treating and Preventing Ascarids

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    Take your dog to the veterinarian if you suspect ascarids. If you have noticed symptoms of ascarids in your dog, then you should take him to see a veterinarian right away. Your veterinarian will examine your dog and administer medicine if your dog has ascarids. Your veterinarian will either give your dog an oral medication or an injection.[5] Common drugs used to treat ascarids include:[6]
    • fenbendazole
    • milbemycin oxime
    • moxidectin
    • pyrantel pamoate
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    Follow up with your dog’s veterinarian. You will need to follow up with your dog’s veterinarian at regular intervals to ensure that the worms do not come back. Your veterinarian will need fecal samples from your dog two to four times per year for the first year after your dog has been treated for ascarids and then once or twice per year thereafter.[7]
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    Get your dog dewormed from a young age. It is recommended to deworm puppies at two weeks old and then every two weeks until the puppies are eight weeks old. If your dog is eight weeks or older, then he will need to be dewormed until he reaches one year old.[8]
    • Pyrantel comes in a liquid formula that is often given to nursing mother dogs and puppies.[9]
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    Clean up your dog’s feces right away. Cleaning up your dog’s feces right away is the best way to prevent children and other animals from becoming infected. Make sure that you pick up your dog’s feces daily and do not allow your dog to defecate in areas where children play or where you grow food.[10][11]
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    Wash your hands often. Frequent handwashing is also a great way to protect yourself and others from accidental infection with ascarids. Make sure that you wash your hands after touching or petting your dog, after cleaning up your dog’s feces or vomit, and before eating or preparing food.[12]
    • Use warm water and an antibacterial soap to wash your hands. You should scrub your hands with soap for about 30 seconds and then rinse them thoroughly.
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    Keep children and immunosuppressed away from an infected dog. Healthy adults are less likely to be infected by ascarids, but children and those who do not have strong immune systems may become infected more easily.[13] Children and the immunosuppressed may also suffer more severe consequences from ascarid infection including:[14]
    • organ damage, especially of the liver
    • blindness due to larvae getting into the eyes
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    Put your dog on a leash when you go for walks. Dogs like to inspect the feces of other dogs (as well as cats, raccoons, deer, etc.) and this can cause your dog to become infected with ascarids. To prevent your dog from investigating the feces of other animals, you should keep him on a leash at all times when you go out in public. [15]
    • Check your yard often as well to make sure that there are no strange feces from neighborhood cats, dogs, or other animals that your dog may encounter.


  • Take your dog to see a veterinarian right away if you suspect that he may have ascarids. Waiting to have him treated can cause the worms to become worse which poses a hazard to you as well as your dog.
  • Do not touch your dog’s feces or any worms that you find with your bare hands. Wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after.

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Categories: Canine Health