Hookworms are parasites; this means they live off other living things (host). Hookworms affect lungs and small intestine. Hookworms are very thin worms which is about one-quarter to one-half inch in size. If it is untreated, then it causes diarrhea and anemia, within the affected animal. The name of this disease is Ancylostomiasis; in a northern part of America, most of the pets are affected to this disease. There are different types of the species which lives in a different area, depends upon the climate. Hookworms affects your dog very badly and it turns to make your pet quite sick. This type of intestine infection may also take place in human beings.
A hookworm produces an anticoagulant in its saliva, so that host blood does not get a clot. If the worm moves from that site to reattach itself to another, first it starts to bleed and then it makes the pet anemic.
Types of Hookworms
- Canine hookworms: this type of infection infects the dogs, foxes and possibly in human through the intestine.
- Canine and feline hookworms: canine and feline hookworm can be found in tropical and semitropical climates. It infects cats, foxes, dogs, and human beings through the skin.
- Northern canine hookworms: it also infects dogs, foxes, and cats.
- Feline hookworms: mostly seen in cats.
Causes of hookworms in dogs
A hookworm infects an animal through ingestion or skin. Once it takes place in the living host animal, they use their teeth or hooks, to attach themselves onto the host’s intestine and they suck the blood. This leads to loss of blood or anemia and malnutrition to the host. These adult parasites may also lay eggs, once the eggs hatch, the larvae will swim through dew and vegetation.
Hookworm affects three ways in living species:
- Through the skin.
- Through ingestion.
- Through milk or ureto.
Through the skin
Hookworm larvae enter through the skin, some larvae may migrate to muscles, fat, or other tissues.
After entering to host, they attach themselves to the intestinal wall, mature, mate, and then it produces eggs, thus completing the life cycle in this way.
While ingesting, a dog has more possibility to get affected by hookworm larvae and this causes them to infection. Larvae may be ingested through contaminated food or water from moist surfaces, and even eating infected hosts. However, few may migrate through tissues of the body and ultimately trachea. Most of the ingested larvae takes place in an intestine.
Through the milk or in utero
Larvae that encyst and die dormant in the muscles, fat, or tissues, then they enter into the uterus of pregnant animals and it gets a chance to infect fetuses. Even they migrate into mammary glands of a lactating female to infect nursing puppies.
Hookworm also infects human, while transferring or borrowing skin from others. Human infection is not serious because larvae will typically die within two weeks and they clear the infection. This doesn’t mean that a human won’t suffer any consequence from hookworm when it affects, it cause lung disease and aching muscles.
Symptoms of hookworm in dogs
All hookworm can cause disease; the affected dog looks unhealthy and has a poor appetite such as linings of its nostrils, lips, and ears will be pale. If the hookworm larvae affect the lungs, the dog will cough continuously and it has other symptoms like diarrhea, and constipation. Sudden death occurs, if the dog is not treated.
- Pale gums.
- Abnormally thin, emaciated.
- Dull and dry coat.
These symptoms will usually appear within 2 to 10 days. If it untreated, this leads to death.
Diagnosis is nothing but, it is finding the eggs in the feces. Diagnosis is made by evaluating the sign of disease.
Treating hookworms in dogs
Medication for roundworm or heartworm is a treatment to cure hookworm because they contain deworming drugs and it also kills hookworms. No matter what type of treatment is prescribed, our main aim is to kill the hookworm.
Most common hookworm medications:
- Pyrantel pamoate.
- Milbemycin oxime.
First preference should be given to affected puppies, when they are two weeks old and then go for 4, 6 and 8 weeks of age, and then finally become adults. How to treat this affected puppies? Give heartworm preventative treatment for affected pets, which will also treat the hookworms. During that time, nursing mother should avoid spreading this disease.
Adult dog takes heartworm medication to cure and a fecal exam is conducted once or twice a year to eliminate the possibility of hookworms.
Preventing hookworms in dogs
Prevention is important to keep your dog always healthy and it protects another animal from becoming ill. Here few things are listed to protect our pets from hookworm parasites.
- Daily clean yards and kennels of your pets.
- Clean and dispose of fecal matter immediately.
- Kept a side for infected animals, to decrease the possibility of transmission.
- Do not allow children to play with defecated animals.
- Do not allow your pets to use sandboxes or garden to relieve themselves.
Hookworms in dogs are very common infection, it makes your pet very serious, especially in puppies.
Now it’s important to treat the dogs with both medication and a fecal exam to make sure that your dog is not affected.
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