parasite worm in dogs' eye

Parasite Worm In Dogs’ Eye

When parasite worm in dogs’ eye are discovered, these white or grey worms crawl on the surface of the eye or swim like snakes in the anterior chamber of the eyeball. The sight makes most dog owners feel extremely uneasy and scared.

Dog eye worms different types

Some people mistake these wriggling or swimming worms for roundworm in dog eye or red worm in dogs’ eye. What needs to be clarified is that while these parasites resemble roundworms and red worms, which are all wriggling line shaped, they are not the same. The following two types of parasites are commonly found in the eyes of dogs:


Thelazia is a parasitic nematode spread by fruit flies to predators and humans. 

These parasites’ larvae feed on tears and live in areas where the surface of the eyeball is surrounded by the eyelids. When the fruit fly feeds on the dog’s tears, it carries some larvae with it, and when the fruit fly sucks the tears of other dogs, these larvae enter the dog’s eyes.

For details on Thelazia, please refer to the CDC’s information: Thelaziasis


This is a parasitic infection spread by mosquito bites, and common symptoms include coughing, fever, and pleural effusion. 

According to the CDC, canine dirofilariasis has been reported in all states in the United States, with both canine and human dirofilariasis being most prevalent in the eastern and southeastern states. 

The parasite does not appear in the dog’s eyes immediately after the bite; the larvae of these parasites develop and grow slowly as the dog’s blood enters the various organs.

When the parasite reaches the dog’s eye, it enters the anterior chamber, which is full of a kind of clear liquid between the iris and the cornea. As the parasite multiplies, you will notice gray-white nematodes swimming inside the dog’s eye, rather than on the surface of the eyeball.

For details on Dirofilaria, please refer to the CDC’s information: Dirofilaria

Other parasites

There are other kinds of parasites that can live in dogs’ eyes, but they are now rare in North America, Europe, and Asia, so we don’t need to worry about them.

Symptoms of eye worms in dogs

The following are the symptoms of dog eye worm:

If the dog’s eye parasite is treated early on, it can often restore the health of the eyes; however, if treatment is delayed until there are serious symptoms, such as corneal ulcers, it can often cause irreversible damage to the dog’s eyes, such as blindness or even need an eyeball removal.

Dog eye worm treatment

Physical removal of eye worms in dogs is the most common treatment method.

If it is Thelaziasis, a parasitic infection on the surface of the eyeball, it can simply be pulled out or washed away. This treatment appears straightforward, but it is frequently performed on the assumption that a local anesthetic is applied to the surface of the eye and/or the dog is injected with a sedative. Following treatment, the vet will administer the appropriate medicine based on the dog’s specific condition.

When Dirofilariasis appears in a dog’s eye, the situation can be tricky because the worms live beneath the cornea, necessitating surgery to cut the cornea and remove the worms, and general anesthesia is frequently required as a prerequisite for surgery. Meds are also required after surgery to continuously kill worms that live in other organs of the body.

Dog eye worm removal cost

The average cost of Thelaziasis (in eyes) treatment is around US $900, ranging from US $500-1,500, including eye exam, eye worm rinse/pull out treatment and meds.

The average cost of Dirofilariasis (in eyes) treatment is around US $2,500, ranging from US $2,000-3,600, including eye exam, surgical incision of the cornea to remove the parasite and meds.

Dog eye worm medicine

1. Dog eye worms deworming meds

Depending on the type of parasite and the severity of symptoms, veterinarians typically use the following drugs:

  • Ivermectin

    This is an dewormer that can effectively kill Dirofilaria immitis and mites. Although this is an effective dewormer for various parasites, some genetically defective dogs may be poisoned after taking it. Regardless of the reason, do not give Ivermectin to your dog without first consulting your vet.

  • Moxidectin

    This is a dewormer similar to Ivermectin that is approved to treat a wide range of parasites in dogs. Some dogs experience side effects such as vomiting, drooling, ataxia, and nystagmus.

  • Imidacloprid

    It is an FDA-approved flea treatment that is also used in conjunction with other drugs to treat nematodes and filariasis. It is typically applied directly to the skin of the dog.

  • Selamectin

    This is a flea, Dirofilaria immitis, and ear mite control ingredient that is usually applied directly to the skin of dogs. Selamectin is generally not permitted in sick, weak, or underweight dogs and must be tested on the dog by a vet prior to use.

2. Dog eye worm prevention medicine

  • Fly repellents labeled for dogs

  • Milbemycin

    It is an oral medication used to prevent heartworm and treat parasites in dogs. It is usually in the form of chewable tablets with flavor, and some dogs experience nausea and vomiting after taking them. It must be taken under the supervision of a veterinarian.

Is dog eye worms zoonotic?

Eye worms can not only infect dogs, but also zoonosis. To avoid spread eye worm from dog to human, the following rules are recommended:

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