Canine hookworms | Hookworms in dogs

Hookworms in dogs

Ancylostoma spp. and Uncinaria spp. are common in dogs. Infestation is usually via ingestation of the ova or through transcolostral transmission; freshly hatched larvae may also penetrate the skin. The adults live in the small intestinal lumen, where they attach to the mucosa. Plugs of intestinal mucosa and/or blood is ingested, depending on the worm species. In severe infestations, hookworms in dogs may be found in the colon.

Young dogs may have life-threatening blood loss or iron-defiency anemia, melena, frank fecal blood, diarrhea, and/or failure to thrive. Older dogs rarely have disease solely on hookworms, but these worms may still contribute to disease caused by other intestinal problems.

Finding hookworms in dogs feces is diagnostic and easy because hookworms are prolific egg producers. However, 5 to 10-day-old puppies may be exsanguinated by transcolostrally obtained hookworms before ova appear in the feces. Such prepatent infections rarely occur in older dogs that have received a sudden, massive exposure. Diagnosis is suggested by signalment and clinical signs in these dogs. Iron deficiency anemia in a puppy or kitten free of fleas is highly suggestive of hookworms in dogs.

Warious anthelmintics are effective to treat hookworms in dogs. Treatment should be repeated in approximately 3 weeks to kill parasites entering the intestinal lumen from the tissues. In anemic puppies, blood transfusions may be lifesaving. High-dose fenbendazole therapy in bitches reduces trancolostral transmission to puppies. Hookworms are a potential human health hazard (i.e., cutaneous larval migrans). Use of heartworm preventives containing pyrantel or milbemycin help to minimize infestations of hookworms in dogs.

The prognosis is good in mature dogs but guarded in severely anemic puppies. If the puppies are severely stunted in their growth, they may never attain their anticipated body size, so it is extremely important to treat hookworms in dogs.

Canine hookworms diagnostic plan:

Physical examination
Stool analysis
Blood work

Canine hookworms treatment:

Blood transfusions
Supportive therapy

Canine hookworms dietary plan:

Based on individual patients.

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