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Hookworms in dogs

Hookworms in dogs, causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Hookworms can cause varied health problems among dogs.

Some common parasites are round worms in dogs, whipworms in dogs and hookworms in puppies. Hookworms are common intestinal parasites that cause diarrhea and anemia among dogs. Hookworms are known to have teeth or cutting plates that are used by the worms to attach themselves to the intestinal walls and suck blood. The hookworms that affect dogs are known as canine hookworm.

The adult worms attach themselves to the small intestine and lay eggs within the intestine. Such eggs pass out through the dogs excreta but continue to hatch and subsist on water and vegetation. The larvae can stay without food for many weeks. The ingestion of such larvae can cause hookworms.

Such worms can also burrow through the host's skin. The larvae burrow through the skin and migrate through the bloodstream finally reaching the intestinal walls. The larvae then attach themselves to the intestinal wall, mature, mate and produce eggs. Such larva can also deposit itself in muscles, fat or other tissues. Such dormant larvae can later migrate to the uterus of a pregnant dog and infect the fetus. The larvae can also travel to the mammary glands and infect nursing puppies. Hookworms are largely found in warm damp and sandy soil. Preventing dogs from extended beach trips is an ideal way to prevent such infections.

Hookworms in dog's symptoms
Blood loss and anemia is one of the most common indicators of hookworm infection.
The other common signs and symptoms associated with hookworms in dogs are:

  • The gums appear pale in color
  • Vomiting and Diarrhea
  • Dark stools
  • Weakness
  • Stunted growth in young animals
  • Hair coat appears dull and dry and
  • Loss of weight


Hookworms can be diagnosed by analyzing the feces. Young puppies may have severe health disorders much before the adult larvae lays eggs. The signs and symptoms are the only way to diagnose the possibility of hookworms in that case. The presence of hookworms and roundworms can be ascertained only through a microscope. They are about half an inch in size and are practically invisible to the naked eye.

Hookworms in dog's treatment:
A hookworm infection can be effectively treated with medications that help treat roundworms. Most medications can eliminate only the mature worm and not the eggs. Therefore, it is possible that the veterinarian may suggest two or more treatments to effectively eradicate the hookworm and the eggs. If your dog is severely anemic, blood transfusion may be required to nurse the dog back to health.

  Submitted on June 1, 2010  

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