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Hookworms

What you need to know about intestinal parasites (hookworms) and your pet!

Similar to tapeworms and roundworms, hookworms are parasites that live in the intestines of a dog.

  • The hookworm attaches to the lining of the intestinal wall and feeds on the dog’s blood. Its eggs are ejected into the digestive tract and pass into the environment through the animal’s feces.
  • Larvae (young hookworms) that hatch from hookworm eggs live in the soil and can infect a dog simply through contact with and penetration of the skin or through eating the hookworm larvae.
  • Hookworms can infect pets through ingestion or can also penetrate through the skin directly into the dog’s system.
  • Hookworms can also be passed from a mother to her pups through her milk when nursing.

How will hookworms affect a dog?

Hookworms suck blood and therefore, cause blood loss. They can be a serious threat to dogs, especially young puppies, who may not survive the blood loss without transfusions. In older animals, the blood loss may be more chronic and the pet may have diarrhea and show weight loss.

Can hookworms affect a human?

Some hookworms of dogs can infect humans by penetrating the skin. This is most likely to occur when walking barefoot on the beach or other areas where pets deposit feces. Infection usually results in an itching sensation at the point where the larvae enter the skin and visible tracks on the skin. Hookworm infestations can cause mild to extreme discomfort in the affected person, but can be easily treated once diagnosed.

View the life cycle of the hookworm.

View the life cycle of the hookworm

To see the life cycle of hookworms, click here.

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Fleas and Ticks

Protecting Your Dog from Fleas and Ticks

Fleas are the most common external parasite found on dogs. Although fleas are more likely to be a problem during warm-weather months, they can also cause problems during cooler seasons due to their ability to continue their life cycle indoors.

What are the symptoms of fleas on your dog?

The first sign of fleas for many pet owners is their dog’s repeated itching, scratching and chewing. You may see fleas or flea dirt (feces) on your dog. A dog’s constant itching and scratching may lead to visible patches of hair loss and reddened irritated skin. Although many dogs are very itchy and uncomfortable, some dogs may show no signs at all and fleas can be difficult to see. In addition to making your pet uncomfortable, fleas can also transmit other parasites, such as tapeworms, to a dog.

View the life cycle of the flea.

Fleas

To see the life cycle of fleas click here.

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Cats

Fleas

Fleas are the most common external parasite found on cats. Although fleas are more likely to be a problem during warm-weather months, they can also cause problems during cooler seasons due to their ability to continue their life cycle indoors.

How will fleas affect your cat?

The first sign of fleas for many pet owners is their cat’s repeated itching, scratching and chewing. You may see fleas or flea dirt (feces) on your cat, although cats are very good at keeping their coats clean. A cat’s constant itching and scratching may lead to visible patches of hair loss and reddened, irritated skin. Fleas may also transmit other parasites, such as tapeworms, to a cat.

View the life cycle of the flea.

Fleas life cycle