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Toxocara Canis

Updated on August 2, 2012
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Toxocara Canis: Overview

Toxocara Canis is a scientific name give to one of the most notorious worms that infest dogs. This worm is alternatively called the dog round worm. It’s imperative as a Dog owner to know the how dogs get worms and the different kinds of worms for you to take the necessary measures to prevent worm infestation. If you are a new dog owner you should read this carefully since you should take the necessary precaution of deworming your dog especially puppies. Unlike adults, puppies can be very susceptible to attacks by worms of all kind. Puppies can be easily infested by Toxocara Canis and their health seriously compromised.

Physical Characteristics of Dog Round Worm (Toxocara Canis)

Toxocara Canis is one of the serious dog worms that you need to prevent. This worm has the following facts that can be helpful for identifying it and taking the necessary measures to deworm your best friend.

Morphology of Toxocara Canis

Physical Parameter/Characteristic
Detailed Description
Length of Worm
Range from 9cm to 19cm
Color of Worm
Yellow to White
Where worm Lives in Host (dog)
Dog’s Intestines
Worm’s Eggs
Oval or Spherical Shape with granulated surface
Can cause Fatalities In puppies

Lifecycle of the Dog Round Worm (Toxocara Canis)

There is so much literature out there about the lifecycle of the round worms in dogs but I would like to simplify this lifecycle to make it more relevant for infection prevention to dog owners. The following tips should guide you on understanding the cycle the dog round worm goes through and how you can use the cycle to stop the worm’s propagation.

1 ) Ingestion of Egg with Worm’s Lava

Toxocara Canis will infect the dog via ingestion of egg that has an infective larval worm called L2 since it’s at the second level of development.

Caution Preventive Measure can be employed by reducing the chances of ingestion of the eggs.

2) Hatching of the Egg in the Small Intestine

The ingested Toxocara Canis Egg is digested and the Laval exposed and this is typically hatching so that the worm gets into the intestine after breaking from the egg that was shelling it.

Caution: Dewormers targeting the larval stage of the dog round worm may be effective at this stage.

3) Larval Entero-Hepatic-Pulmonary Migration

This larval starts migrating following the route from the Intestines to Liver and the lungs where it develops further.

Caution: You may observe 3 months pups cough up worms. This is the larval stage 3 of Toxocara Canis that is destined to return to the gut after being coughed up via the trachea from the lungs. This symptom of worm in dogs is rarely seen in adults.

4) Aberrant Migration of the Dog Round Worm

Toxocara Canis does not have a precise migratory map and therefore may be found in other organs like the brain, Muscles and the heart.

Caution: If you have a pregnant dog there is a possibility of a prenatal infection or infection via lactation when the pup is a few days or at the neonatal stage. The worm especially the stage 3 larval will infect the lungs of the fetus when a prenatal infection occurs and then ends up in the gut. Giving puppies’ antihelmitic is recommended in the cases of suspected infection or just as a prophylactic measure.

5 Adult Worms

The adult worm will be found in the small intestines where it has devastating effects that can lead to severe fatalities in dogs and in particular puppies in a breeding kennel.

Can Toxocara Canis be transmitted to Humans?

According to a recent study it is possible that Toxocara Canis infects humans and the worm could potentially lead to blindness since it develops in the Retina. A second research downplayed the prior one arguing that the chances of infection were very limited and required high incidence of contact with infected eggs something that’s not practical for many dog owners who take good care of their pets. The bottom line here is YES to some extent Toxocariasis is zoonotic.

Are cats infected by Toxocara Canis?

Toxocara canis does not affect cats but cats have an equivalent worm that goes by the name Toxocara cati.

Thank you for taking time to Read and make comments


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    • afriqnet profile image

      Joe Njenga 5 years ago from Nairobi Kenya

      Hi Cat R,

      Yeah worms can be very devastating especially for Pups. I hope that was useful info. Thank you for taking time to read and comment.

    • Cat R profile image

      Cat R 5 years ago from North Carolina, U.S.

      I've seen dog poo that looked like your picture, where the dog had so many that it was all that was coming out. It took several treatments with dewormer to get rid of them.

      Great info!