Hookworms in dogs - Symptoms and treatment

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Hookworms are parasitic worms that affect the canine small intestine and have blood-sucking habits. Because they have a large mouth capsule with teeth To latch onto the dog's small intestine, they are called "hook worms." Its form of infection is parasite larvae 3, that enter the dog through the skin, are ingested, or pass through milk or the placenta to puppies. Once in the canine organism, they evolve to their adult state, where they cause damage and chronic traumatic enteritis in their final location: the intestine..

Treatment is based on correcting anemia and electrolyte abnormalities, and diagnosis is made using parasitological diagnostic techniques. However, if you want to know more, do not miss this AnimalWised article, where we will discuss the topic of Hookworms in Dogs, Their Symptoms and Treatment.

You may also be interested in: Hookworms in Cats - Symptoms and Treatment Index
  1. What is hookworm in dogs?
  2. Causes of hookworm in dogs
  3. Symptoms of hookworm in dogs
  4. Diagnosis of hookworm in dogs
  5. Prevention of hookworm in dogs
  6. Are hookworms from dogs spread to humans??

What is hookworm in dogs?

Canine hookworm is a parasitic pathology caused by the hookworm helminth worms, which belong to the family Ancylostomatidae and the genus Ancylostoma. Dogs can be affected by Ancylostoma caninum, Ancylostoma braziliense Y Hookworm stenocephala.

They are worms that measure between 12 and 30 mm and they have a large curved mouth capsule with teeth, which gives them a greater ability to damage the intestinal mucosa of our dogs.

Parasitization causes a ulcerative traumatic enteritis with chronic and progressive symptoms of blood loss.

Life cycle of hookworms in dogs

Gravid females shed their eggs in the feces from an infected dog, evolving from larva 1 to larva 3 (L1-L3) if the environmental conditions are optimal (humidity and temperature between 20 and 30 ºC), in about seven days.

Causes of hookworm in dogs

The source of infection is parasite larvae 3, that they can penetrate the body canine by the following routes:

  • Orally: if they infect the dog orally, the larvae will go to the lung, digestive system or muscle. They will become adult parasites within 2-3 weeks.
  • Percutaneous route: through hairless areas, in case of Ancylostoma braziliense Y Ancylostoma caninum.
  • Through breastfeeding: another form of contagion is through milk in lactation, infecting puppies.
  • Transplacental route: they can also be spread transplacentally, parasitizing fetuses.

Pathogenesis of hookworm in dogs

When transmission of the parasite is through the skin, a pruritic dermatitis and then the larvae go to the lung to reach the intestine through the blood. In all places they cause traumatic action, being able to produce skin, lung and intestinal lesions.

Due to their blood-sucking habits and traumatic action, they cause a inflammation in the small intestine of our dog. Depending on the number of adult parasites, the damage will be more or less serious, and can cause significant anemic conditions in the dog depending on the total number of adult parasites, since they consume 0.07 to 0.8 ml of blood daily..

Thanks to their large and traumatic mouth capsule, they become attached to the mucosa causing a traumatic ulcerative enteritis and they are located in several places, where they release proteolytic substances to digest the tissue and form ulcers. In addition, they also release anticoagulant substances so that the outflow of the blood does not stop, which continues to occur when they pass to another place. All this causes the dog to progressively lose blood and gradually weaken..

Symptoms of hookworm in dogs

The clinical signs of hookworm in dogs is the characteristic of a traumatic and anemizing ulcerative enteritis, which may include the following injuries and symptoms:

  • Weightloss.
  • Growth reduction in puppies.
  • Whimsical appetite.
  • Progressive anemia.
  • Pale mucous membranes.
  • Soft spot.
  • Dehydration.
  • Hypoproteinemia.
  • Dry Skin.
  • Bad hair appearance, it comes off easily.
  • Tachycardia.
  • Tachypnea.
  • Intestinal ulcers.
  • Inflammation of the intestinal mucosa.
  • Mesenteric lymph node infarction.
  • Bloody diarrhea.
  • Dermatitis.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Petechiae in the alveoli.
  • Congestion and bleeding in the intestine.

In the puppies, the disease can become more serious and even deadly, since they are more susceptible than adults.

Diagnosis of hookworm in dogs

The symptoms can make us think about this parasitosis, but also about other intestinal or hemorrhagic diseases that can affect dogs. The definitive diagnosis must therefore be based on parasitological tests. Thus, the tests to be carried out are:

  • Stool analysis: using the parasitological flotation technique.
  • Egg hunt: with the help of the microscope, after performing the technique and obtaining a slide with sample.
  • Stool culture: for the eggs to complete their evolution until larva 3.
  • Identify the larvae: identification of the larvae of the culture by the Baermann technique.

Treatment of hookworms in dogs

Faced with an anemic dog with hookworms, the main thing is to get it back through symptomatic treatment with blood transfusion if required, correction of dehydration and nutritional deficits.

To definitively end the parasitization, one must resort to specific treatment with anthelmintics, being able to use the following drugs:

  • Macrocyclic lactones such as selamectin, milbemycin, moxidectin, or ivermectin.
  • Benzimidazoles such as mebendazole, febantel, oxibendazole, or fenbendazole.
  • Levamisole.
  • Emodepsida.

Prevention of hookworm in dogs

To prevent canine hookworm, like other parasites, should be performed frequent deworming. In addition, due to the potential to be transmitted through the placenta or milk, females during their gestation must also be dewormed in order to avoid this form of contagion. Then 2.5 mg / kg moxidectin can be used topically once a month or every 15 days..

The deworming of a puppy should begin when he is two weeks old with an anthelmintic authorized for puppies, repeating every two weeks until eight weeks of age. The mother should be dewormed in the same way during this time.

The mother deworming during pregnancy to greatly reduce the transmission of hookworms through milk can be as follows:

  • Intramuscular vermectin at days 45 and 55 after conception.
  • Imidacloprid 10% and moxidectin 2.5% topical solution on day 56 of gestation.
  • Fenbendazole at a dose of 50 mg / kg daily from gestation day 40 to postpartum day 14.

Are hookworms from dogs spread to humans??

Yes, all hookworms in dogs are zoonotic, which means can be spread to humans. People are infected by oral ingestion of larvae after touching soil or soil contaminated by them by having fecal matter from a parasitized dog. Also the contagion can be directly through the skin in the same areas.

When canine hookworm larvae, especially Ancylostoma braziliense, penetrate the skin of a person, it develops the "cutaneous larva migrans ", producing a mild, self-limited dermatitis with erythema, itching, papules, and fine linear and mobile skin lesions or tortuous reddish brown tortuous snake-shaped lesions, which are very itchy.

In this other article, we explain 9 other diseases that dogs transmit to humans.

This article is merely informative, at AnimalWised.com we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

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