Hookworm infestation in dogs

Hookworm infestation means attack of intestinal tract of dog by a nematodal parasite known as Ancylostoma caninum causing anaemia and serious diarrhea.Hookworms are blood suckers and has pairs of teeth on the ventral margin of the anterior buccal capsule to attach to the intestinal wall of a host. Each hookworm suck 0.8 to 1 ml of blood in 24 hours and thus cause severe blood loss.

Which dogs are highly susceptible to hookworm infestation?
Puppies are highly susceptible to hookworm infestation. It is usually fatal and can even kill the puppies.

How does a dog get hookworm?
Hookworm infestation occurs in a dog by ingestion of infective eggs or larvae through contaminated soil that contains Ancylosoma eggs and larvae. Transmission also occurs when infective larvae penetrate through the skin. In pups migration of larvae take place through the placenta before birth and through its mother milk after birth.


What are the signs and symptoms of hookworm infestation in a dog?
Signs and symptoms of hookworm infestation in a dog usually depends upon the nutritional state of the dog. They are
(a) Pale gums, anaemia
(b) Weakness
(c) Loss of appetite
(d) Dark black (Tarry) coloured faeces
(e) Bloody diarrhoea
(f) Vomiting
(g) Failure to grow or to put on weight
(i) Progressive loss of body weight
(j) Poor coat condition

If infective larvae penetrate through the skin then the following symptoms may be seen:
(a) Intense itching
(b) Bleeding of the skin
(c) Redness of the skin
(d) Skin become thickened and scaly


How is hookworm diagnosed?
Hookworm is diagnosed on the basis of the following:
(a) Clinical signs like Dark black (Tarry) coloured faeces, pale gums etc
(b) Microscopic examination of faeces.


How is hookworm treated?
1. Anthelmentics are given.
(a) Bephenium hydroxyl napthoate(Alcopar) at a dose of 200mg/kg b.wt
(b) Fenbendazole at a dose of 7.5 mg/kg b.wt
(c) Mebendazole at a dose of 100 mg/24 hrs. for 3 days
(d) Pyrantel pamoate at a dose of 11 mg/kg b.wt
(e) Tetramisole at a dose of 15 mg/kg b.wt
2. Blood transfusion in case of severe anaemia
3. Iron supplements
A dog suffering from hookworm infestation is weak and malnourished because the hookworm suck blood and also compete with nutrition .Feed the dog nutritious diet high in protein and fat.


In what way to prevent and control hookworm infestation in dogs?
(a) Strict sanitary habits to be practised in your dog’s area.
(b) Routine deworming should be done
(c) Deworm pregnant bitch three weeks prior to whelping with fenbendazole at a dose of
5-15mg/kg b.wt to minimize pre-natal and trans mammary transmission to pups.
Deworming should be repeated in 3-4 weeks in order to kill any developing larvae which have matured into adults since the previous worming.

Can man get hookworm from dogs?
Hookworm is zoonotic and man can get hookworm from dogs. The hookworm larvae burrows into the skin of the human foot or leg causing intense itching and itchy lesions.

What to do if your house have hookworms?
Eggs and larvae survive in the soil for a long time in moist soil and cool environment. Freezing, dry conditions and heat can kill the eggs and larvae.Sunlight can also kill it.Disinfect furniture, linen, premises, cage or kennel and all contaminated objects with chlorine bleach. Sodium borate can also kill hookworm eggs and larvae but it is toxic to dogs and so do not leave it in a place where the dog can eat it. Don’t walk bare foot through places where dog’s feces are present.

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