Similar to tapeworms and roundworms, hookworms are intestinal parasites that live in the digestive system of your dog (or cat). The hookworm attaches to the lining of the intestinal wall and feeds on your dog’s blood. Its eggs are ejected into the digestive tract and pass into the environment through your dog’s feces.
Larvae (young hookworms) that hatch from hookworm eggs live in the soil. These larvae can infect your dog simply through contact and penetration of the skin and through the dog eating the larvae when they ingest dirt or during their routine licking (cleaning).
How will hookworms affect my dog?
Hookworms suck blood and therefore cause internal blood loss. They are a serious threat to dogs, especially young puppies that may not survive the blood loss without transfusions. In older animals the blood loss may be more chronic, and the pet may have diarrhea and show weight loss.
If you think your dog is infected with hookworms, call your veterinarian to schedule an appointment for evaluation, diagnosis, and safe, effective treatment.
How do I prevent my dog from getting hookworms?
Similar to steps for prevention of other intestinal parasites, it is essential to keep your dog’s surroundings clean and prevent the dog from being in contaminated areas.
Mary O' Grady, DVM
Blake Townsend, DVM