3 Things You Probably Never Knew About Dog Hookworms


Hookworms are tiny parasites that live and breed in the small intestine of dogs and puppies. Canines that have hookworms often become anemic, and this is especially dangerous for puppies. Humans are also at risk for developing an irritating skin condition when exposed to hookworm larvae. Read the information below to find out three surprising things that you never knew about hookworms in dogs.  

Dogs Can Get Infected With Hookworms In Three Different Ways

When attached to the small intestine of a dog, hookworms feast on the animal's blood. After the adults mate and lay eggs inside the small intestine, the dog passes the eggs during a bowel movement. When the eggs hatch into larvae, they are ready to find a host to begin feeding.

Hookworms infect dogs and puppies through the three methods listed below.

  1. Skin – When a dog walks in an area that contains hookworm larvae, the larvae can enter through the skin on the bottom of a dog's foot and travel to the small intestine through the bloodstream. Larvae can also penetrate the skin on a dog's belly to gain entrance into the animal's system.
  2. Mouth – Dogs often get hookworm larvae in their mouth when sniffing or licking dirt that contains the larvae. It is also possible for a dog to ingest larvae that are stuck on their fur when they lick their body.
  3. Nursing – Newborn puppies often get hookworms through their mother's milk or through the placenta before being born. During pregnancy, the larvae pass to the placenta through the mother's blood.

Hookworms Can Lead To Anemia And The Need For A Blood Transfusion

An abundance of hookworms feeding off the blood of a dog or puppy can create anemia in the animal. Losing a large quantity of blood can cause young dogs to become extremely ill. Puppies are especially susceptible to becoming sick because their immune system is still weak.

One of the first signs of anemia in a dog or puppy is pale-colored gums. The animal will also be weak and may frequently vomit. Diarrhea or dark stools are another symptom of hookworms. The animal may have dull fur that lacks luster and a hookworm infestation can prevent puppies from growing at a normal rate.

Dogs that lose an excessive amount of blood due to a hookworm infestation will often need a blood transfusion to replace the lost blood. A blood transfusion is necessary to stabilize the condition of the animal so the veterinarian can begin the hookworm treatment. To determine if a dog needs a blood transfusion, a veterinarian will test the dog's red blood cells.

Humans Can Get A Skin Condition From Hookworm Larvae

Adults and children who walk in contaminated areas that contain hookworm larvae can contract a skin condition called cutaneous larva migrans. The larvae penetrate the skin of humans and this causes a reaction. The symptoms are red and itchy skin, along with a path on the skin's surface that indicates the movement of the larvae.

The larvae normally die after several weeks and the symptoms will disappear. Individuals can visit a physician if the symptoms are uncomfortable. To prevent this condition, individuals should always wear shoes when outdoors and protective rubber gloves when disposing of animal waste.   

To prevent the occurrence of hookworms in your dog or puppy, schedule routine visits to the animal hospital for worm prevention medications. If you suspect that your dog or puppy already has hookworms, take your pet to a veterinary hospital as soon as possible. A veterinarian will examine the animal and take a stool sample to discover the presence of hookworms.


5 April 2016

Talking About Pet Vaccinations

Hello, my name is Marissa. Welcome to my site about veterinarians. I decided to buy myself a puppy for the holidays. I searched my community for a breeder and picked up my puppy right away. Unfortunately, within a day, I noticed my puppy was not feeling well. The poor animal picked up a virus on the way home due to the lack of proper vaccinations. The vet was able to save my puppy and give her all the correct vaccinations. I will use this site to explore viruses and other conditions that vets prevent through precisely timed vaccination schedules. Thanks.