This article focuses on how to get rid of roundworm in pets. Also, in this article I mention something about avoiding developing countries if you want to avoid an infection, something that to some people might consider xenophobic or just plain wrong. But I tell you, if you see some of the pictures and read some of the stories by some doctors who've spent time in developing areas where human feces contaminates the water supply and roundworm infections run rampant, you'll know why I offer this advice.
Now, if you're a good person, you'll ignore what I say about staying away from these places, and join the PeaceCorp and do what you can to make the world a better place. But, you'll also wear sandals and not drink the water, and maybe even take a roundworm medication with you on your trip. For pet owners, there are some things you need to know about getting rid of roundworm that a lot of people, like myself, didn't or don't know. Want to know how to get rid of roundworm? Then please keep reading.
Worm your dog or cat before breeding them and worm them again 4-5 weeks after birth to get rid of roundworms in adults—and offspring. Roundworm larva are so sneaky and well evolved that they can manage to penetrate the mammary glands and even the placenta, making it possible for a puppy or a kitten to be born with a roundworm infection. Have all puppies and kittens wormed as soon as possible to prevent possible infection of other cats and dogs.
You may need to get rid of mice or get rid of rats in order to get rid of roundworm. One of the many ways a cat or dog can get roundworms is by eating an intermediate host. That is, a cat may get infected by eating a mouse that was infected with roundworm before the cat ate it. This is often times the case since many mice tend to get roundworm, and then slow down when infestation becomes too severe, allowing a better chance for your cat to catch it. The same goes for dogs and other rodents.
Avoiding public areas where other dogs and cats may be defecating is an obvious way to get rid of roundworms. The second most common way to get a roundworm infection, after an infected birth parent, is to accidentally (or intentionally, silly dog!) eat the feces of an infected individual. This fact makes boarding your pet, or taking your pet to "pet parks" a little more dangerous than you may have originally known. True, most places clean up the poop, but roundworm eggs can survive for years in the soil. Just be careful and discourage your dog from eating other animal's poop.
Roundworm infections of the variety Ascaris lumbricoides are common in just about every part of the world, but particularly in areas where human feces is not properly discarded. Those of you living in or traveling to developing countries or places where sanitation is notoriously bad should always wash your hands (and feet, if you wear sandals), avoid making contact with the soil, avoid drinking the water, and avoid hand to hand contact with strangers. This sounds difficult and almost xenophobic, but a roundworm infection is rampant (almost to the point of 100% infection rates) in areas where careless disposal of human waste is the norm.
With a pyrantel pamoate treatment, it's quite easy to get rid of roundworm infections. The same treatment (in different doses) is used to treat both humans, dogs, cats, and any other animal that may be infected with roundworm. Pyrantel Pamoate is the roundworm treatment that most veterinarians recommend, including our own veterinarian who is partial to the Nemex brand of this medicine. It is usually just prescribed once for humans, pending a test 2-3 weeks afterward, but for pets (especially puppies and kittens) three or four doses may be required to allow the roundworm larva to mature and become susceptible to the worming agent.
Like I said above, pyrantel pamoate is probably your best bet for getting rid of roundworm, and the list of worming products goes on and on. For pyrantel pamoate, you're looking at Nemex, D-worm, Pamix, Worm-X, Strongid, etc. But there are other worming medications that work well against roundworm, like mebendazole and albendazole. I think Safe-Guard even makes a good wormer, but they use a variant of the bendazole drugs called febendazole. Really, it's just a matter of preference. You should know that with age, most dogs form a natural resistance to roundworms, so you won't spend much on roundworm treatments and medications once they're old enough to exhibit this resistance.
For humans, I would say Pyrantel Pamoate is the best way to get rid of roundworms.