The adult hookworm is one of the worms in dogs that live in the small intestine of an animal host. It hangs on to the intestinal wall using its 6 sharp teeth and unlike other worms who just absorb nutrients through their skin as it passes by, the hookworm drinks its host’s blood.
Hookworms can cause symptoms in your dog such as gas, loose stools, increased appetite, anemia, and dry brittle fur. These parasites spend most of their time feeding off of the food your dog eats, as well as sucking the blood from your pet.
Now that you have a picture that is a bit scary of worms in dogs, we need to explore how do hookworms get into an animal’s body and what do you do to kill them once they are present?
Puppies contract hookworms from an infected mother in two ways. Some puppies are born infected and other puppies from the same litter can become infected from the mothers milk. If a puppy manages to escape infection by these two means he will likely pick up hookworm from the feces of the infected pups.
It is clear why puppies are at a special risk over adult dogs when it comes to hookworms. The Center for Disease Control has recommended automatically deworming puppies for hookworms beginning at age 2 weeks in areas where hookworms are common.
To prevent mothers spreading hookworm to her puppies she must be dewormed daily through the second half of pregnancy and into the nursing period. A regular single deworming will not be effective in protecting the litter. Discuss this option with your veterinarian if you are considering mating your female dog.
When it comes to humans contracting hookworm infection, contaminated soil is a concern. People can prevent worms in dogs and humans by cleaning up dog feces in public places such as parks and beaches. Hookworms can enter their host through the skin. And often do get into a host via the bottom of the foot or paw. Many communities have implemented strict policies on fecal clean-up, which are in place to protect two-legged and four-legged animals from contracting worms.