Hookworms In Dogs: Hookworm is a parasite affecting the intestines, which is a fatal condition for small dogs or puppies. They are smaller than 3 mm in size, so they can be difficult to see. ‘Ancylostoma caninum’ is the most common type of hookworm infection in dogs. In addition, other hookworms that can make pets sick include Ancylostoma brasiliensis and the rare form Uncinaria stenocephala.
Hookworms attach to the lining of the small intestine with their hook-like mouthparts and begin to suck blood, causing symptoms such as anemia (loss of blood), loss of appetite, and lethargy in dogs. In some cases, especially in puppies, this infection can even lead to death.
However, not all hookworms cause symptoms such as weight loss and anemia in dogs. Some are hidden in tissues and enter a dog’s body when it is asleep or in a state of lethargy. Going inside the body, they get stuck in the cyst, which is known as induced.
How Hookworms Can Spread?
Oral-fecal Route: If the dog smells or eats the feces of an infected animal.
Accidental Injection: When dogs go out for a walk, these insects can stick to their skin and paws. After this, when the dog licks its skin or paws to clean it, these worms go inside the body through the mouth.
Eating An Infected Animal: Hookworm infection can also occur if the dog smells or eats any organisms that contain worms (such as rats and squirrels).
Passing Of Infection: Sometimes these worms can be passed on to babies during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
Hookworms are so strong that they can live for several months in an open environment. Therefore, when the dog defecates, it should be cleaned immediately.
Hookworms reproduce quickly and can be easily seen in feces. Therefore veterinarians can examine a dog’s stool to diagnose hookworm disease.
Adequate dog care is essential to kill these parasites. In this case, the help of some medicines can be taken. However, these drugs cannot pass through the gastrointestinal tract and only affect parasites present in the intestines. In this case, this treatment may need to be done again in two to four weeks.
The worms can be killed in female dogs to prevent these worms from being passed on to babies during gestation. For this, talk to your veterinarian.
Some types of hookworms, such as ancylostoma braziliense, can also affect humans. These worms enter the body through the skin and can cause a problem called ‘cutaneous larva migrans’. The best way to prevent this condition is to wash your hands and feet thoroughly after playing with your pet. Immediately clean up the area where dogs pass stools and avoid walking barefoot in that area.
Usually, cutaneous larva migrans do not reach the intestines of humans, but in cases where it does occur, diarrhea can be a problem. The signs of cutaneous larva migrans in humans may be:
- Red Sores On The Skin: As soon as the larvae reach inside the skin, red marks appear on the affected area. They can grow up to two centimeters in a day.
- Diarrhea (In Rare Cases)
If a person notices symptoms such as redness and sores on the skin, consult your doctor about this. Typically, hookworms cannot survive in humans for more than five to six weeks.
Hookworm Symptoms In Dogs
The symptoms of a hookworm infection in a puppy or small dog can be serious.
Anemia: Due to hookworm infection, there is less production of red blood cells in the body, which leads to anemia. It thins the blood, which makes it difficult for dogs to form blood clots. Due to this, there is a problem of leakage of blood (internal bleeding) at the internal level.
Gums, Mouth, Ears, and Nose: Internal bleeding can occur in any part of the body like the gums, mouth, ears, and nose.
Lethargy: The ability to absorb food is affected, resulting in low energy levels and the dog becoming lethargic.
Inattention And Diarrhoea: Their gastrointestinal tract is affected due to this infection, which can cause problems like inattention and diarrhea.
Thick Colored Stools: Due to internal bleeding, the stool can be black or thick in color.
Weight Loss: When nutrients are not fully absorbed by the dog’s intestines, there is a risk of weight loss.
Malnutrition And Poor Growth: Small pups need large amounts of red blood cells for growth. If this is not done in sufficient quantity then it can have a detrimental effect on its development.
Causes of Hookworms in Dogs
To know about hookworm infection, it is important to understand their life cycle. These develop and reproduce in the small intestine of female dogs. Once the female dog releases the eggs, they pass out of the body in the form of feces and infect the site. Any dog that visits the affected area can inhale the parasites again by smelling the infected area and eating some of the food there. These parasites can survive for a few months on the ground (provided it is not too cold) and can reach any dog that visits the affected area.
These parasites need to mature into the third stage to infect a dog. If they have matured into their third stage, they can reach the dog’s intestine and begin to breed there. Some of these larvae reach the trachea, from where these larvae can either enter the body or exit the body through vomit. In this situation, these larvae start sucking blood by going into the dog’s intestine.
Some larvae remain dormant for a long time and do not cause any harm. However, in the case of an infected pregnancy, these larvae are activated and can reach the uterus, after which they can directly infect the pups. These can also be passed from mother to puppies through breastfeeding. These pups usually live close to their mothers, due to which they are more prone to transmit the infection.
Diagnosis Of Hookworms In Dogs
To diagnose hookworm infection in the dog, go to the vet and get him physically examined so that other symptoms or diseases can also be detected in him.
The stool can be examined to confirm hookworms. In this test, a stool sample is mixed with water, so that hookworm eggs can be seen floating. They are clearly visible in the stool, due to which this test is considered accurate. However, the result of this test can be negative in puppies or young children, because they do not have these larvae in the intestines.
If a person’s dog already has hookworm disease, report this to the vet. In this case, the doctor may recommend imaging, blood, urine, and culture tests to find out any main or secondary causes.
Treatment Of Hookworms In Dogs
As mentioned above, deworming is the best remedy for hookworms. However, in some cases several times deworming may be required. Frequent stool tests are also needed to find out whether the hookworm worms are completely gone. Hookworms are irritating, so it is important to monitor them.
Supplemental treatment may be required in the case of puppies. In case of severe anemia, blood transfusion can lead to a normal life. Let us tell you, blood transfusion means blood transfusion. Intravenous drips may also be needed to provide nutritional support and maintain electrolyte balance in young dogs.
Prevention of Hookworm in Dogs
Prevention is the biggest and best treatment for the problems caused by parasites. In this case, avoid taking your dog to a place where there is dirt, grass, or bushes. These places increase the risk of parasites. In addition, dog owners or household members need to ensure that their dog is regularly dewormed.
If a dog has been diagnosed with hookworm infection, maintain proper home hygiene. Apart from this, keep brushing the carpet, sofa, and bedding regularly.