Symptoms of Hookworms in Dogs

Hookworms are intestinal parasites that may be found in cats or dogs. Hookworms in dogs can be a health risk, causing anemia and even death. Hookworms are small parasites, having the size of less than an inch and a thread-like appearance.

Symptoms of Hookworms in Dogs

The hookworm, also known as Ancylostoma and Uncinaria is a parasite that resides in the intestine of the dog. Having teeth, the worm feeds on the blood of the dog.

The symptoms of hookworms are more severe in puppies.

When the parasite feeds on the dog's blood, this can easily lead to anemia. The anemia signs are pale gums and discolored tongue and nose, hair loss and dry skin.

A dog with hookworms will also show symptoms of tiredness, have diarrhea and vomit. If the dog doesn't have diarrhea, he might have hard, black colored feces. Hookworms are small and rarely visible in the stool of the dog. Usually hookworm eggs are present in the feces, but these are only visible under the microscope.

Dogs with hookworms are less active than usual.

Severe cases of hookworms can be accompanied by cough and pneumonia, if the larvae of the worms move towards the lungs.

Hookworms Treatment

If a dog presents symptoms of hookworms and is diagnosed as such, the parasites must be eliminated to prevent health issues.

A de-worming treatment works well in the majority of the cases. Your dog will get some medication which will kill the worms and these will be eliminated in the feces. Homeopathic treatments are also available. Ask your vet about your options.

A nutritional diet is also important to keep the health of an infected dog. Offer a diet that is high in fat and proteins. Add a few digestive enzymes to make sure that the food is properly digested and that all the nutrients enter the blood flow.

Supplements of fish oil are a great source of omega-3, which will strengthen your dog's immune system. You can also add some supplements of iron in your dog's diet, which will help the anemia.

Ways of Transmission

The hookworms may be transmitted in numerous ways. Hookworm larvae may exist in food, water or soil. Ingesting infested food or water is a sure way to get the worms.

Skin penetration is another way of transmitting the worms. A healthy dog that gets in contact with an infested dog can easily become a new host for the hookworms.

An infested mother will transmit the worms to the puppies, so it is recommended that pregnant dogs get de-worming treatment. Even while nursing, the larvae can get into the intestines of the puppies.

The infestation with hookworms may be prevented through proper sanitation. Be careful, the larvae of the hookworms can live in humid and moist environments for several weeks, so make sure to clean your house with bleach and powerful detergents. Keep an elevated temperature in your home, as warmth can kill the larvae. Hookworms may be transmitted to humans by skin penetration and cause rashes and itching. The worms may be contacted easily, even by walking on the beach and stepping on infested feces.