Thursday, June 14, 2018

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Worms in Vomit

Every time my dog throws up I make sure I scrutinize the contents. When I discover something weird-looking, first I try to think of what they have or might have eaten.

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Worms in Vomit

Over the years I found all sorts of things from sticks, rocks, toy fragments, plastic pieces ... even an accidentally swallowed sock one time. Fortunately, with our dogs, all these things found the natural way out of the system with no consequences.

But what if your dog's vomit looks like they've just eaten spaghetti noodle soup?


If your dog indeed ate some spaghetti and threw them up still recognizable, it can mean a variety of things, which we'll cover next time. This time we're talking about what looks like spaghetti but isn't - worms.

Worms in vomit? Yuck!


Well, yes, but however yucky that is, the bigger problem is where they came from--inside your dog. That's where you really don't want any. But how could worms survive in the stomach? While there is such a thing as stomach worms when you find spaghetti-like worms in your dog's vomit, you are most likely looking intestinal parasites instead, namely roundworms.

How would intestinal worms get into vomit?


They should show up in the poop, come out that way, no?

Dogs are most commonly infected with roundworm by ingesting the eggs in another dog’s poop. After being swallowed, the eggs undergo a strange but fascinating lifecycle that involves migration through the wall of the intestine into the liver and then into the lungs. They are then coughed up and swallowed so they can make their way to their home in the small intestine.

Adult worms actively wriggle upstream, against the efforts of the intestines to push everything downwards towards the pooping end. They usually stay in the intestines, but sometimes manage their way all the way up into the stomach. That's how they can make their way into the vomit.

Roundworms are most common in puppies, but that doesn't mean an adult dog could get infected.

If your dog or puppy has just been dewormed, it is not unlikely for them to throw up a bunch of worms. If they're acting normally, vomiting the dead worms can occur.

If your dog is throwing up worms and has not been dewormed recently, do see a veterinarian.

Why worry about roundworms?


Roundworms are not just gross but can become a serious health threat. Not only they rob your dog of nutrients, but complications include intestinal blockage or pneumonia.

Beside finding worms either in the poop or vomit, other signs can include diarrhea, changes in appetite, lethargy, swollen belly, weight loss, and even coughing.

Puppies are most vulnerable, which is why screening and the de-worming regiment is quite rigorous. When it comes to adult dogs, I don't like fixing a problem I don't have. However, I do believe it is essential to have the stool checked regularly even if I don't see any evidence of parasites.


Related articles:
Symptoms to Watch for in your Dog: Vomiting
What Happens in a Dog's Body with Severe Vomiting?
Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit?
What's in the Vomit?


Do you know what your dog is telling you about their health?


Learn how to detect and interpret the signs of a potential problem.


Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog now available in paperback and Kindle. Each chapter includes notes on when it is an emergency.

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is an award-winning guide to help you better understand what your dog is telling you about their health and how to best advocate for them. 

Learn how to see and how to think about changes in your dog’s appearance, habits, and behavior. Some signs that might not trigger your concern can be important indicators that your dog needs to see a veterinarian right away. Other symptoms, while hard to miss, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or limping, are easy to spot but can have a laundry list of potential causes, some of them serious or even life-threatening. 

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is a dog health advocacy guide 101. It covers a variety of common symptoms, including when each of them might be an emergency. 

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog has won the following awards:

32 comments

  1. WOW your posts so open my eyes to all each time, thank goodness I have not come across this one with Layla or I would have a heart attack, but always good to know

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    1. Sometimes things look way grosser than how dangerous they are. Even though worms CAN be deadly for puppies in particular.

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  2. I am quite familiar with worms in the poop of cats I've rescued off the street, but I haven't had the experience of worms in vomit. Yuck!! Thanks for addressing this topic and explaining what to look for, and what to do if it ever happens.

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    1. Most commonly they do come out in poop. But there are situations when they can show up in puke as well.

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  3. Haven't had this happen yet. Hope it never does! Mr. N gets wormed semi-regularly so it's not a big concern.

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    1. Well, most HW preventives also kill roundworms. So that makes such infestation that much less likely.

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  4. Thanks for sharing more info on this parasite. We get the occasional pet owner at the clinic that will bring in an unidentified worm in a jar or baggie and ask for our advice on what it is. It's usually a roundworm. I'm a vet tech. :)

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    1. Yes, makes sense as the others are mostly too small and tape shrinks and doesn't look like one :-) I also see people post photos with worms that must have crawled on the poop after the fact :-)

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  5. I experienced the wiggly spaghetti puke once and it's not something that will be easily forgotten, if ever! But it's good to know about the worms so you can get the pet treated for them.

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    1. An enemy you can see is always easier to deal with than one that you don't see.

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  6. I had a formerly feral cat puke worms once and I was SO grossed out. I hope I never see it again.

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  7. I didn't know that could even happen. I guess the good news for a dog, is it would be hard to ignore and hopefully the human would take the dog to the vet right away!

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    1. Yeah, I can't imagine how one could ignore that ;-)

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  8. Ugh, worms!!! The day we brought Helo home from the rescue we adopted him from, he was in his crate recovering from his neuter surgery and he threw up SOOOOO many worms that my husband called me at work and asked if I had fed him spaghetti. Umm, no, no I did not feed out brand new dog a handful of angel hair pasta. Yes, the worms were THAT long. So gross. Poor guy. No wonder he was trying to eat everything in sight!

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    1. LOL It is kind of funny with the phone call. Poor guy, though. But he's in good hands now.

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  9. It would be really gross to find worms in a pet's vomit! I can't say that I have had to worry about this with my kitties yet. I'm glad that there is a treatment available that helps get rid of these worms - even if it is a pain to follow.

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    1. Yes, there are effective treatments to get rid of these things.

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  10. Oh, ewww....thankfully, I have never had the experience of worms in vomit! Once again, a very informative and important post!

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    1. Personally, I'd take worms over spiders any day LOL But it is best to have our dogs parasite-free.

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  11. Worms in vomit? I never would have guessed. I've never seen this - and I hope I never will! Fortunately, I have not had a dog with roundworms.

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    1. A dog on HW preventive isn't likely to have roundworms. But it can happen, particularly in puppies.

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  12. I would be horrified to find works in vomit BUT thanks to you I know that, given the circumstances there rethinks I Can and should do.

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  13. Oh gross! Had no idea that worms could survive in the stomach, even if it is just one species. That's one too many! Not only are your posts educational, they also consistently make me feel like I'm not being overly obtrusive in my dogs' lives when I'm inspecting their various bodily fluids.

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    1. LOL I don't think they mind terribly that you fuss around with what comes out of them :-)

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  14. Oooh always good to know. Luckily knock on wood this hasn't happened to us yet.

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  15. I hope I never see worms in vomit! On the other hand, I always learn so much when I read your posts

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    1. I think it's relatively rare. But I have seen that happen.

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  16. Oh man, this would freak me completely!! Ugh. Thanks for the warning.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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    1. While this is indeed quite graphic, for me it would be relatively low on the freak-out scale because it is fully treatable.

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  17. Worms are often forgotten about after puppyhood and initial de-wormings. This is a great reminder that there can be more to learn about your dogs health at all times.

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    1. They are less likely in adult dogs, particularly since some preventives, such as the Heartworm preventive, cover some of these things also. But one should always be watchful.

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