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Dog Hookworms

Dog Hookworms

Hookworms are common parasites of dogs regardless of age. They are most
common in warm humid climates. Hookworms are smaller than roundworms. They are called hookworms because they feed by hooking onto the intestinal wall of the intestine with hooklike teeth.

They have the ability to cause anemia (and sometimes death) in puppies and adult dogs. They cannot be seen by the naked eye. The severity of adverse effects will depend on the amount of worms in the intestine and the animal’s overall health and age.

Hookworms have pretty sharp teeth and cause the dog’s intestine to bleed. Dogs can get hookworms from the ground where other dogs have passed eggs before or from the milk of their mother if she was infected.

The most significant problems appear related to intestinal distress and anemia. Blood loss results from the parasites sucking blood from intestinal capillaries. The presence of pale gums, diarrhea, or weakness might suggest the need to specifically determine the dog’s red blood cell count. Some dogs experience significant weight loss, bloody diarrhea, or failure to grow properly with hookworm infection.

Skin irritation and itching can be one of the common signs of a heavily infested environment. The larvae burrow into the skin and cause the dog a great deal of itching and discomfort.

Since hookworms can penetrate skin tissue, it is possible for people to pick up the larvae when walking barefoot on infected soil. Children should not be allowed to play in areas where dogs defecate.

Dog Hookworm Symptoms

Symptoms of hookworm infection include the following:

Anemia (severe cases)
Diarrhea
Diminished strength and vitality
The worms feed on the host’s blood. Puppies can develop life-threatening anemia from blood loss even before eggs are detectable in the feces.
Hookworm disease is diagnosed by examining the feces for eggs.

Several oral medications are available for the treatment of hookworms and several preventative monthly medications are also available. Pet owners should discuss the options with their veterinarian.

Hookworm is easily diagnosed by microscopic fecal exams. Treatment involves one of many good drugs available in mild cases. In more severe cases pyrantel pamoate, intravenous therapy, blood transfusions, and good nutritional support is very important.

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