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December 7, 2023

Hookworm Symptoms in Dogs | Cause, Cure & Precautions

Is your pet dog not eating properly? Is your dog feeling dull and weak? All these signs indicate hookworm infections in dogs. In this article, we have discussed the symptoms, causes, and medical treatment of hookworm infections. Read our blog on >first aid tips for common health conditions in dogs

Infections in dogs are a significant concern for pet owners and veterinarians. These diseases are caused by various pathogens like bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites that can be transmitted from one dog to another. >Fleas and ticks also cause serious problems in dogs. Hookworm is one of the most dangerous infectious diseases that can cause problems for your pet dogs. 

Preventing infectious diseases in dogs is crucial for their well-being and the safety of other animals and humans. Vaccination, regular check-ups, proper hygiene, and parasite control are essential measures to reduce the risk of infection. 

Timely diagnosis and treatment by a qualified veterinarian are critical in managing these diseases, as they can range from mild to severe and even life-threatening. 

S.No List of Topics 
1. What are hookworms?
2. What are the causes of hookworm infections in dogs?
3. Symptoms of hookworms
4. How are infectious hookworms diagnosed?
5. Treatment of hookworm in dogs
6. Necessary precautions to take?

Read our full blog to know whether your dog is infected by hookworm and provide treatment accordingly. This blog will also help you take precautions to save your dog and yourself from getting infected. 

What is hookworm?

Hookworms in dogs are a type of parasitic infection caused by tiny, thread-like worms known as hookworms. These parasites primarily affect the intestines of dogs and can also infect other animals, including humans. There are two main species of hookworms that commonly infect dogs: Ancylostoma Caninum and Uncinaria Stenocephala.

Hookworms are typically acquired when a dog comes into contact with contaminated soil or feces containing hookworm larvae. The larvae can penetrate the skin or be ingested by the dog. After reaching inside the body, they migrate to the intestines, where they attach to the intestinal lining and feed on the dog’s blood. This feeding process can lead to a range of symptoms, including diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, lethargy, and poor coat condition.

What are the causes of hookworm infections in dogs?

Here are the key factors that contribute to the risk of hookworm infection in dogs:

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  • Contaminated Soil and Feces: Hookworm larvae are found in soil and feces from infected animals. The larvae can penetrate the dog’s skin or be ingested if the dog licks or eats contaminated soil.
  • Puppies: Young puppies are particularly vulnerable to hookworm infections. If the mother is carrying hookworm unborn puppies get affected. Or shortly after birth through the milk. 
  • Poor Hygiene: Dogs that live in unsanitary conditions or come into contact with feces from infected animals are at a higher risk. Keeping your dog’s living area clean and disposing of feces properly can help reduce this risk. You might also find hookworms in dog poop. 
  • Travel and exposure to other dogs: Dogs that travel frequently or interact with other dogs, especially in areas with a high prevalence of hookworms, are at an increased risk. 
  • Immune System Health: Dogs with weakened immune systems, whether due to underlying medical conditions, stress, or malnutrition, are more susceptible to hookworm infections and may experience more severe symptoms.

Symptoms of Hookworm

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Common symptoms of hookworms in dogs include:

  • Gastrointestinal Distress: Hookworms primarily affect the intestines, leading to symptoms such as diarrhea, often with blood in the stool. 
  • Anemia: Hookworms feed on the dog’s blood, which can lead to anemia (a decrease in red blood cells). 
  • Weight Loss: Dogs with hookworm infections may experience weight loss despite a normal or increased appetite. 
  • Vomiting: Some dogs with hookworms may vomit, especially if the infection is severe or if there is concurrent inflammation of the stomach.
  • Coughing: In cases of heavy hookworm infestations, dogs can develop a cough. 
  • Poor Coat Condition: Infected dogs may have a dull, dry, or rough coat, as well as a generally unhealthy appearance.
  • Abdominal Pain: Dogs with hookworms may experience discomfort or pain in the abdominal area.
  • Reduced Growth in Puppies: In puppies, hookworm infections can result in stunted growth, failure to thrive, and developmental issues.

How are infectious hookworms diagnosed?

Infectious hookworms in dogs are diagnosed through a combination of clinical evaluation, fecal testing, and sometimes additional diagnostic methods. When a dog exhibits symptoms or signs suggestive of hookworm infection in dogs, a veterinarian will typically perform a thorough physical examination to assess the dog’s overall health. 

Fecal testing is a key component of diagnosing hookworm infections. A small sample of the dog’s feces is collected and examined to detect the presence of hookworm eggs or larvae. This fecal analysis allows the veterinarian to confirm the infection. It also identifies the specific type of hookworm involved and assesses the severity of the infestation.

Treatment of hookworms in dogs

The treatment of hookworm infections in dogs typically involves the administration of deworming medications prescribed by a veterinarian. These hookworm medicines for dogs, are effective at eliminating the adult hookworms residing in the dog’s intestines. 

The specific treatment plan may vary depending on the severity of the infection, the dog’s overall health, and the type of hookworm involved. It will not only >benefits your dog’s physical health but also on mental health

Necessary precautions to take

To keep your dogs safe from hookworms and reduce the risk of infection, you can take several precautions and preventive measures:

  • Regular Deworming: Consult with your veterinarian to establish a regular deworming schedule for your dog. Puppies, in particular, should be dewormed according to a veterinarian’s recommendations, as they are more susceptible to hookworm infections.
  • Clean Living Environment: Maintain a clean and sanitary living environment for your dog. Remove feces from your yard promptly and dispose of it properly. This helps prevent the buildup of hookworm larvae in the environment.
  • Limit Contact with Contaminated Areas: Be cautious when taking your dog to areas that may be contaminated with hookworm larvae, such as parks, kennels, or communal dog spaces. Avoid allowing your dog to consume soil or investigate feces from other animals.
  • Prevent Roaming: Keep your dog on a leash or within a securely fenced area to prevent it from coming into contact with contaminated soil and feces from other animals.
  • Maintain Good Hygiene: Practice good hygiene when handling your dog and cleaning up after them. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling your dog, especially if you suspect they may have come into contact with contaminated areas.
  • Avoid Overcrowded Environments: In places where multiple dogs are present, such as boarding facilities or doggy daycares, make sure the facility follows proper sanitation practices and requires proof of regular deworming from all clients.

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