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.
To see the life cycle of hookworms, click here.